In this blog post we will zoom in the Waste Scan Technique, a Lean technique that is part of the Analysis phase in the DMAIC cycle. Previous blog posts discussed different techniques of the Measure and Define Phase, and next posts will elaborate on other Analysis techniques.
What is it?
The Waste Scan focuses on waste in the process. It turns out there is a lot of waste in our processes and organizations. By recognizing and visualizing this waste we can reduce it. Lean offers many different solutions for tackling waste.
The refresh button in the LeanCoach collects all yellow sticky notes; these notes are the reason for using this technique. If there are no yellow sticky notes, it can be an incentive to not use this technique.
The foundation of Waste Scan is the process model.
The process model shows waste in icons. A short introduction to waste:
Movement: Movement of people in the process.
Transport: Movement of products or information (carriers).
Complexity: Unnecessary complexity of the process, resources or rules.
Waiting: People waiting in the process.
Recovery work: Recovery activities in the process.
Inventory: Inventory or waiting lines in the process.
Over-processing: Adding more value than the customer is asking for.
Yellow sticky notes can be moved to a relevant part of the process.
‘Red sticky notes’ (identified causes) can be added from scratch or from a yellow sticky note.
Tips and best practices
Make sure that when performing this technique, you have good representation of people from the work floor.
It is a good idea to have someone from outside of the process look over your shoulder into the process for (part of) the day, on location (observation). This helps create a good picture of the process and can open up a discussion about ingrained patterns.