WIP (Work In Progress) is a term used in the manufacturing industry to describe a task or element which is long overdue. This is a task which has yet to reach its endpoint. In simpler words, it is any process that remains unfinished due to lack of resources. WIP Limit is a concept for business leaders; it emphasizes enacting a pressing deadline in order to increase the productivity of the employees.
The term WIP used to be part of inventory management, and described incomplete or missing goods, items in inventory, and orders being on hold for that reason. But WIP is also a common concept used in business management to describe incomplete processes or workflows.
These unfinished processes or tasks are nothing but a hindrance to the business. In Six Sigma terms, these incomplete things are more activities that add no value to the system. Six Sigma is all about continuous improvement to bring in revenues with a significant success rate. And how is this achieved? By eliminating elements that do not add any value to the system and prevent a business from flourishing.
Six Sigma is all about sticking to activities that promote growth of a business, and eliminates the elements that carry no value.
What is the WIP Limit? Why do we need it?
The WIP limit is used to assign a deadline to a process in order to eradicate bottlenecks. The WIP limit enforces a deadline on team members in order to see how much time an individual can save in certain workflows. This way, the teams allow each member to make full use of their abilities fully and move towards professional growth. To set WIP limits, experts believe in utilizing tools like Kanban. This visual management tool has the ability to differentiate between many tasks of a project, which allows team members to always be aware of a work process. There can be many blockages to a task that may prevent teams from reaching deadlines, so WIP limits can work towards removing these blockages.
Advantages of the WIP Limit
Benefits of the WIP limit include:
- Ability to get rid of bottlenecks
- Saved time and resources
- Projects delivered efficiently and within a time frame
- Employees being able to focus clearly due to a breakdown of tasks into smaller tasks
- Increase in the morale of teams as they understand their own capacity
- Continuous improvement
In conclusion, the WIP limit is geared toward having an attitude of getting work done within a specific timeline. You can limit your work to a specific number of tasks, for instance, you set a timeline during a week and limit the number of tasks to 15. In this way, you will not have items that you don’t want on your agenda. As a result, there will be no distractions hindering your productivity and capabilities. Limiting WIP will bring ease to your company’s workflow, and ultimately make running your business a lot easier.