These last few months, I had the opportunity to complete my Green Belt certification in “Lean Six Sigma,” a popular, trusted methodology for improving business performance and processes by reducing waste and enhancing collaboration. This methodology is a combination of two popular approaches, “Lean” and “Six Sigma,” and is used by companies like 3M, Amazon, Boeing, General Electric, and even the United States Army.
I learned so much about process improvement and project management in this training, with valuable information that can be applied to businesses of all sizes. In this article, I cover a tool from the Lean method, known as the 8 Wastes.
WHAT IS WASTE?
A waste is any step or action in a process that is not required to complete a process successfully and usually gets in the way of providing value to the customer altogether. These steps typically cost more in money, time, and space to maintain, making waste an unnecessary, expensive business cost. So what are they? Use the acronym “DOWNTIME” to remember…
Defects – Products or services that are out of specification that require resources to correct.
Overproduction – Producing too much of a product before it is ready to be sold.
Waiting – Waiting for the previous step in the process to complete.
Non-Utilized Talent – Employees that are not effectively engaged in the process
Transportation – Transporting items or information that is not required to perform the process from one location to another.
Inventory – Inventory or information that is sitting idle (not being processed).
Motion – People, information or equipment making unnecessary motion due to workspace layout, ergonomic issues or searching for misplaced items.
Extra Processing – Performing any activity that is not necessary to produce a functioning product or service.
Even without formal Lean Six Sigma training, successful business owners know that eliminating just one of the 8 wastes can help improve their efficiency and revenue. Just think - if you’re spending less time, effort, people, processes, and production on unprofitable activity, why wouldn’t it?
Identifying and working to eliminate wastes within your organization is just one way to improve your business’ overall performance, as identified by Lean Six Sigma. If you have the opportunity, I’d recommend taking the Green Belt certification for all small business owners and entrepreneurs!
P.S. I recently wrote an article about how digital marketing efforts on social media can go to waste and how just a bit more research can help you build a better strategy. Read all about it here.
P.S.S. This article is not sponsored by Lean Six Sigma. I genuinely enjoyed learning about how to reduce business costs, increase profits and make customers happier so that I can better serve my own clients. You can receive your certification, too, here.
Genesis Cosme is a graphic designer and digital marketer based in Miami, Florida. She helps small businesses and startups find their creativity to compete amongst giants. Contact Genesis.