Tag Archives: muda

Broadening the Concept of Waste

What do you think of waste within your organization? Things you don’t use? How about ideas you don’t use?

There are many insightful aspects of the Toyota Production System. One I particularly like is the idea that not using a good idea is a form of waste.

Think about that for a moment. For the majority of organizations, one of their most expensive assets are their employees. Employees create value by doing their day to day work, but as a by-product of that, they come up with ideas for change and improvement within the organization. Those ideas have the potential to drive continuous improvement within that organization.  However, often those ideas are not captured or not acted upon. From the Toyota perspective, this is a source of waste.

Are you doing enough to harness the value of the ideas that your employees generate? Toyota apparently implement one million employee ideas per year according to this source.

There is more about Toyota’s lean production system here. And the concept of Kanban is explained here. And there is a nice post on the five whys used at Toyota here.

This post is similar to ideas expressed in the first chapter of my upcoming book.

Toyota and process efficiency

Any student of process can learn so much from Toyota, and this book is a great resource. Even if you are focused on projects, portfolios and not process, Toyota’s concepts can be enlightening. One of my favorites is the notion of waste (muda) and how broadly it is defined, for example failure to capitalize on employee’s ideas is viewed as a form of waste. I think that’s a fascinating concept and another is the idea that any turning of a bolt that doesn’t serve to tighten it is a form of waste. Again, an interesting concept. Toyota’s method is littered with this thinking. Worth reading about if you haven’t already.