Most people familiar with the concept of lean manufacturing and standard production systems have heard of the seven wastes. If you haven’t, you’re probably going to skip this post and move on. If you have, there is an important point you may not have considered.
There is a constant focus on waste analysis and elimination. If you eliminate all of the waste, what do you have? What is the bigger point? The whole exercise seems incomplete.
The reason it’s incomplete is that the approach to the seven wastes missed the complementary concept at the origin of the production system that lean was based on.
Just as night has day, black has white, and the moon has the sun, waste also has a complement and that is flow.
Have you heard of the seven flows? The goal of your production system is to enable efficient flow, and it is waste that interrupts that flow. Next time you think about focusing on waste, make sure you are first thinking about the flow you want to achieve, then consider how to eliminate waste with the primary goal of creating or improving flow.
Synchronized flow coordinates material storage, movement, presentation, and protection into a single system that simultaneously improves morale, safety, quality, cost, and delivery. It sounds almost too good to be true – if it weren’t already being done by the world’s best companies.
Geolean’s action engages your team on the shop floor to drive positive and sustainable flow improvements. Whether you are starting down the path to a structured improvement system or need a turbo boost to go from good to great, contact Geolean to initiate a discussion on how we can support your journey to excellence.