Conceptual Hand Writing Showing Lean Manufacturing. Business Photo Showcasing Waste Minimization Without Sacrificing Productivity.

All organizational processes produce their fair amount of waste unless management decides to do something about it. In this highly competitive age of business, organizations need to make sure that they are providing value to the customer while keeping costs down. And the best way is to reduce waste as much as possible, which is where the 8 Wastes Walk comes in.

What is the 8 Wastes Walk?

Simply put, the 8 Wastes Walk is a highly-planned and organized walk through working areas to identify process and continuous improvement opportunities by routing out the eight wastes of lean within processes.

Basically, waste is anything that is responsible for the inefficient use of resources. It is also anything that doesn’t contribute to processes in a way that delivers value to the customers. This is why organizations work so hard to minimize or eliminate waste in every shape or form.

What are the 8 Wastes?

You can’t go about trying to identify and eliminate wastes without knowing what wastes to look for. In lean, there are eight wastes that processes can produce. These wastes are defects, overproduction, waiting, transportation, inventory, motion, extra-processing and non-utilized talent.

Some organizations only identify seven types of wastes, with non-utilized talent being left out.

Here is a brief explanation of each of the wastes:

  • Defects: Any product that wasn’t produced correctly.
  • Overproduction: When supply is more than demand.
  • Waiting: Time spent while waiting for the next step in the process to commence.
  • Transportation: Moving products and materials unnecessarily.
  • Inventory: Having excess products and materials.
  • Motion: People moving unnecessarily.
  • Extra-Processing: Any work that adds more value to the process that is not needed by the end-user.
  • Non-Utilized Talent: Not utilizing people’s skills and talents to their fullest potential.

How to Conduct the 8 Wastes Walk

To successfully conduct the 8 Wastes Walk, here are the steps to follow:

  • Prepare for the walk: This is the preparatory stage where upper management signs off, leaders are assigned, participants are selected and supervisors and operators are notified.
  • Conduct a team huddle: Teams are formed, areas are assigned, the eight wastes are defined and an eight wastes check sheet is distributed.
  • Walk assigned area: Each team goes to the area in which they have been assigned to observe the processes and identify wastes.
  • Document observations: Using the check sheet, each team records at least one observed waste.
  • Regroup and debrief: Teams report the wastes they have observed, along with opportunities identified and actions to be taken.
  • Follow up: Actions are given ownership and carried out.

Benefits of the 8 Wastes Waste Walk

A well-executed walk comes with the following benefits:

Action Plan

As you can see, there is a debrief session to be had after the walk has been completed. This offers the team a chance to think about what actions to take and compile them into an action plan. From there is up to the team to execute said plan.

Makes Employee Induction Easier

Some organizations that have hired new employees use the walk as a way of inducting them into the company. Instead of using other resources, such as finding personnel to personally train the new recruits, they familiarize them with the organization and work processes through the walk.

People Learn About Your Business Deeply

People might understand how the organization works as a whole, but they might not have a clear conception of how each process contributes to the larger picture. Through the walk, as they see how things work and the challenges of each process, they will gain a deeper understanding of what drives the business from the bottom-up perspective.

Conclusion

As you can see, the 8 Wastes Walk is a useful tool for organizations seeking to eliminate waste and deliver value to their customers. It also helps in inducting new employees and helping people know your business.

As long as the steps outlined above are followed, the 8 Wastes Walk would be successful and wastes will be identified and eliminated once the action plan is set into motion. It is the best way to improve the performance of the business.

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