Waiting for broken equipment to be fixed before you can do a job, searching for the correct spanner to tighten a loose fitting, redoing a job that wasn’t done correctly the first time and throwing away a product because it is out of date or damaged are all examples of waste.
Waste often leads to higher costs, frustration, decreased productivity and can impact negatively on safety.
In order to eliminate, isolate or minimise waste effectively, it is helpful to work through a systematic process.
Process for finding waste:
- Working as a team identify an activity to focus on e.g. milking.
- Use the Waste Hunt Target table to identify as many ‘wastes’ as you can. These might be things that happen all of the time like waiting for the treatment cows, or things that just happen sometimes like running out of drugs to treat a sick cow. Use the '7 Wastes' headings from the sidebar to help you.
- Note down what you think is causing the waste but don't spend too much time on this as we will cover this in Step 3.
- Work out what the benefits of fixing each of the wastes will be and fill in this section
- Once you have done this in one area, pick another area to focus on and follow the same process.
- Encourage the team to keep adding to the list during the week. See how many new wastes you can come up with each day. Remember these are opportunities for improvement, so the more the better.
- Don’t try to solve anything or justify why things happen the way they do. At this stage the idea is to capture as many problems as you can…we will turn these problems into opportunities through the challenge.
- Getting defensive about how things are done or trying to solve the problem immediately, can sidetrack you from the overall purpose of identifying waste in your business and finding low cost, sustainable solutions to address the real reason these occur.
Tip: Make it a competition to see how many ‘opportunities’ or problems you can find
Once you have completed the above, you are now ready for Step 3...
Step 3 - Identifying the cause
Identify the real cause of the waste issues you've identified and minimise the chance of the problem reoccurring.