This article explains the Seven Wastes of Lean Office – application of lean to office environments.
Remembering that work that adds no value to the customer is how Waste is defined in Lean Thinking. Given that, there’s a lot of Waste in the office. Indeed, some estimate that a significant percentage of total administrative costs is Waste as it is defined in Lean Thinking.
Movement of product that does not add value
- Transporting material or documents farther than necessary, or temporarily locating, filing, stocking, stacking, or moving materials, people, information, paper – wastes time and effort.
More material information than the customer needs
- Excess stock – more than is needed or wanted.
- Unnecessary copies, extra supplies (more than is needed – beyond some safety buffer.
Bodily or mental motion that does not add value
- Unnecessary work movements or extra motion to complete a task is waste.
Idle time when people, material, information, or equipment is not ready
- Waiting for anything – people, paper, machines, the FAX machine, copier, information.
- Anything that causes a workflow to stop.
Effort that does not add value from the customer’s perspective
- Unnecessary processing of anything increases wastes, energy use, potential human bodily harm, and can impact morale
- Redundant steps – checking someone else’s work, obtaining multiple signatures, or excessive reviews
- The Annual Employee Review can be added to this; a more effective review is a weekly or daily – short feedback loops allows for learning and growth; annual employee reviews are largely unhelpful to the reviewer and the reviewee.
Producing more than the customer needs or wants
- Extra of anything takes up valuable office space and wastes raw materials – paper, attention, etc.
- Having to do anything over because it wasn’t done right the first time is waste