TIMWOOD – 7 Wastes of Lean & How to DEMOLISH them.

timwood lean waste

Knowing this will allow you to single handed revolutionise any process or operational procedure.

In fact, it’s your golden key to faster processes and modernising old fashioned systems.

It also helps with explaining to long-term managers why changes are necessary

First, you need to understand the as-is process. Map them out with the help of individuals doing the work.

Read this article to find out how to do your process mapping.

Then, before mapping the to-be processes. User T-I-M-W-O-O-D to identify waste activities that are hidden beneath the surface.

It’s great for both whether you’re Agile or Waterfall (or a bit of the two).

In fact, this is perfect if you’re Agile because you can build the perfect vision. And deliver value to the customer.

What’s more, finding hidden waste will STOP the guessing game you and your colleagues are playing.

That’s why today I’m telling you exactly:

What the 7 hidden wastes are.

How you can find them.

And even more importantly, crucial tips for how you can eliminate them.

I also give you the 7 simple examples of where each waste occurs. And, which is the BIGGEST money waster of all.

First, here’s how TIMWOOD has helped me eliminate waste…

Only a couple of years ago I redesigned a manual, wasteful requisition approval process.

It was a requisition process that began in one of 27 business areas. Then it crossed 3 more business areas before even being near to complete.

There were 100’s of requisitions every month.

Forms were getting stuck; going to the wrong people and even taking hours to complete.

Printing and filing costs were in the £000’s every month.

I only had one chance to get the new automation right.

SO what did I do?

First, I mapped out the current processes.

Next, I acted out the process myself.

Yes, I followed an actual form. Through every step of the flow, which proved to be a fantastic requirements gathering technique.

Then I found TIMWOOD and thought hard about EVERY category.

And BOOM, I uncovered over 37 wasteful scenarios to improve with a new piece of software in place.

Doing and knowing this allowed me to define the perfect to-be process.

It didn’t take long before I was able to define a brand new process, remove the wastes and have all 27 business areas engaged with the changes

So let’s go from the top.

Transportation Waste (T.imwood)

It’s easy to for someone to sit in an office and design a goods delivery schedule for 20 drivers, every day.

But how do you count for drivers living in different towns against the dropping off locations. Or the different shifts people need to do at different

Even worse what about when one driver drives past one drop-off point to the next, back to that one and then to the next further down. A little like this:

Text Box: IMAGE

If 20 drivers did the same, that would be a lot of wasted journeys. AND a lot of p***sed off drivers. All because one person thought they knew
what they were doing.

This post isn’t designed to tell you how to create a lean delivery schedule, but here are a few things you could do:

  • Ask the drivers about their journey.
  • Do they deliver in a different order to what was designed?
  • Do they think their schedule is efficient?
  • Determine the number of miles in total that the drivers cover. Then look to reduce it.
  • Determine the number of hours products are sitting idle in the van. Then look to reduce it.

You can use these techniques for any process with transportation waste in it.

Once you identify that transport of goods is a form of waste, you should eliminate it down to its minimum. That’s where the money savings are.

Remember this too:

Every time you see a lorry, delivery van or truck on the road. It’s an opportunity for a Business Analyst to improve efficiency and eliminate waste.

Inventory Waste (t.I.mwood)

Many businesses think that holding up inventory in their warehouse makes their balance sheet look good. Not true.

All it means is that you have too much cash held up in stock so you can’t spend it on other needs, such as promotions for the inventory that needs

On the other hand, holding “things” for the sake of it uses valuable space in the warehouse or office.

And it doesn’t just apply to warehouse stock.

Here’s different example:

A multi-billion pound business needs to hold financial records for 7 years. For tax purposes.

They actually had 20 years worth.

The worst thing:

The documents were in folders in the office, so you can imagine how much wasted space this created

The answer:

Bin the excess documentation, 13 years’ worth.

But even better:

Anything less than seven years old was scanned into an enhanced scanning system. Accessible by Employees, Government reps and auditors.

It cost a lot to set up but they SAVED MILLIONS every year. The business case wrote itself for
this project

Motion Waste (ti.M.wood)

How do you identify unnecessary movement of People, products, and/or information?

But more important, how do you remove it so you can save millions of pounds??

Well, that’s what MOTION is all about.

You could even go as far as this:

Every time someone bends over or reaches upwards, it’s waste but here’s another example Scenario:

Take note of the underlined words

A warehouse receives 100 orders overnight.

The Stock Picker prints each order on an individual sheet of paper. He has 100 order sheets

He then walks 5 meters with one sheet for a single order to the stock shelf and picks the stock for that order.

He puts the stock in a basket and walks 5 meters back.

He collects the next single order sheet and walks back to the shelves to pick the stock for that order.

He does that 100 times throughout the order picking process

Many of the orders have the same products on them. Which he could have collected from the same shelf at the same time.

But instead, he needs to go back and forth because he does every order, on its own.

Immediately, he’s ‘over-walked’ by 500 meters

Doing this 10 times a day means and extra 5000 meters a day.

It’s a waste of time, resource and money! So how do you identify and eliminate it?

Map the Process with your users and keep a look out for repeated motions when doing ANYTHING in bulk.

Think about how you can merge the actions so the same stock can be picked together.

It’s easy to get motion mixed up with transportation. And yes, to be honest waste is waste but you might want to think of it like this:

is anything that requires movement between buildings

is anything that requires movement within the perimeter of the building

Waiting Waste (tim.W.ood)

Simply put, Waiting means anyTHING that is sat idle waiting for parts, information or further instructions.

Stock that’s not moving for days, weeks or months.

Here’s a true story:

I was in a pharmacy. They had 100+ bags on the shelf that were full of medication

I said – “what’s that”?

“Oh, they’re prescriptions waiting to be collected”. (that means the bags can’t move until a customer gives collection instructions)

I said, “How long have they been there?”

Some customers will be collect today and some will sit there for over a month.

WOW – that’s a lot of held up stock.

Well, they could use the stock if they needed to. But that would mean de-bagging them removing the label and re-labelling at a later date

If I had a guess I would say there was over £3,000 worth of stock. And for a small shop that’s a lot of tied up parts in waiting

Waiting is probably not as bad as the other wastes, but it’s still important.

So what should you do?

Keep a look-out for anything, product or part or information or random things not moving. Or waiting for an instruction before it can go onto the next
stage of the process.

Over-production Waste (timw.O.od)

Remember I said I’d tell you which was the biggest money wasters? Wel this is it – Overproduction.

Why? Because over-produced stock doesn’t add value to anybody or anything.

Not only that, it also applies to overbought stock – Imagine this:

A manufacturing plant decides to make 1000 units of the same unique product. Never to be made again. For which they need 6 different parts to make each
unit product.

The company orders 5 of the parts in packets of 100. So purchasers can order 10 packs. But the company must order on part in packets of 2000.

Oh GREAT! That leaves an excess of 1,000 parts.

Worry not, you could:

Decide what is cheaper… a) buy the parts and throw the excess in the trash

OR b) Negotiate a deal on 1,000 instead of purchasing 2,000.

Although, then imagine this:

The new complete products have a use by date of 6 months

The company only manages to sell 500 within that time.

So they now can’t sell 500 of their products – that’s DEAD MEAT!

This is a small example. But imagine a plant that produces 100,000 products that each contains 1,000 parts each. Yes, things can escalate damn quick.

Anything over-produced will soon fall into the category of Waiting or Inventory,

So what should you do?

When holding your requirements sessions. ask your SME’s questions such as,
how many parts do you make per day? How fast do they sell?

You could even compare the sales figures against the production figures.

Unfortunately, just mapping out a process like this[LINK],
won’t help you here. Well, not much anyway.

It’s all about your Six Sigma statistical analysis of volumes, timings and £££.

So go and find your database administrator(s) and ask for statistics while explaining the opportunities you’re working towards.

Over processing Waste (timwo.O.d)

Means your business uses tighter tolerances, unnecessary checking or higher grade materials than necessary.

In manufacturing plants, this creates more defects. Because if something isn’t up-to-scratch, they trash it.

Let’s dive right into a real life example which shows lots of unnecessary checking…

A store serves 10,000 customers every month.

Some customers pay for their products, but some customers are exempt from paying.

If exempt, they need to sign the back of an exemption form and the store MUST send it to the government for reimbursement.

If they pay, they don’t need to even print the form.

85% of customers pay for their products.

BUT the store actually prints a form for EVERY customer. And even worse, they send every form to the government in the post

I won’t guess how much time that wastes at the government. But how much waste the store is producing – paper, ink, electricity, postage, packaging…

The list is endless!

Here’s what I would do to demolish this waste

Find out if the store uses the forms for anything else e.g. picking stock, monitoring orders.

Follow the form(s) from start to finish. This is great because you’ll soon pick up on repetitive unnecessary jobs.

Map out your findings using Microsoft Visio.

Map out other methods of doing the same tasks without using the form. Only allow printing the form at the end when the customer collects and signs
for their exemptions. IF the customer is exempt from paying.

Here are some key guidelines when searching for this type of waste in any process:

Again use your process mapping Q&A techniques. Look out
for excessive printing, inspections, writing or even tighter tolerances. These will be part of each person’s jobs and you need to dig them out.

Defect Waste (timwoo.D)

In a manufacturing plant, the number of defects can make or break the business.

It’s the same in supermarkets. It’s reported that Britain’s supermarkets
waste up to 59,400 tonnes (59,400,000 KG) every year.

That’s a DAMN LOT of Waste!

defines a defect as a “Shortcoming, fault or imperfection”

You could look at it like this:

“A defect is anything that needs to be thrown away or cannot be used.”

So iIt’s clear why they need to be eliminated from the process.

So how do you go about finding them?

One way is to step through the process or workflow and make sure no one is throwing products away.


Are there any products that ‘go-off’ before the customer makes the vital purchase?

The only way you can reduce defects is by finding out the number defects are occurring in the first place. Once you have this info.

A Final Word

So there you have it. Identifying AND eliminating these wasteful jobs will provide your case for improving the work environment.

You’ll prove your business can save money. And catapult your profile with managers across the business.

Have you identified any of these wasteful scenarios in your business? Let my readers know in the comments below and any proposals that you have for
eliminating them.

Start here