Muda is a Japanese word that means waste. It has deeper meaning in that it refers to any activity that does not add value. In IT and the office we have many processes for getting work done. Each of these processes are subject to muda.
In tough economic times like these we need to look at every area we can save money. Since time is money, wasted time is wasted money. By eliminating muda from the workplace we can save money and become more productive.
Some of the benefits of eliminating muda:
- Saving money
- More productivity due to less time spent doing a job
- Equipment and supplies are available when they are needed
- Standardized procedures and processes
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Improved morale and better communications
Muda is often used in conjunction with Kaizen, a 5S System and Lean processes. While developed for a production environment, we can easily translate these practices into the IT and office environment.
There are 7 categories of Muda
- Over Production – More information than the customer needs, more information than the next process needs, creating reports no one reads, or making extra copies
- Transportation – Retrieving or storing files, carrying documents to and from shared equipment, taking files to another person, or going to get signatures
- Motion -Searching for files, extra clicks or keystrokes, clearing away files on the desk, gathering information, looking through manuals and catalogs, or handling paperwork
- Waiting – Waiting for faxes or a copy machine, for the system to come back up, for a customer response, or a handed-off file to come back.
- Unnecessary Processing – Creating reports, repeated manual entry of data, use of outdated standard forms, or use of inappropriate software
- Inventory – Files waiting to be worked on, open projects, too much office supplies, e-mails waiting to be read, or unused records in the database
- Rework/Rejects/Repairs – Data entry errors, pricing errors, missing information, missed specifications, or lost records
Over the next series of articles we will look at each muda and see how it translates to IT and the office environment. You will see how you can implement simple measures to reduce waste, save money and increase productivity.