As we’ve learnt, waste comes in many forms. Having good systems in place will remove waste from workplace tasks in the following ways:
- Standardise the process and remove the waste that happens when tasks are done in different ways.
- Lock in the changes, making them permanent work habits.
- Set the standard and provide a way to support a consistent way of doing things
- Staff training, minimising risks and improving health & safety
- Helping to hold people accountable for doing the job correctly
The best systems use simple, clear language; are very visual – using mostly pictures or diagrams, are located where the job is done (whenever possible) and can be fine-tuned as required.
Scroll through the gallery for examples.
Your challenge is to come up with the right systems, which have the right amount of detail to be useful and relevant. It is easier if you work through a systematic process and to help with this we've outlined the steps to setting up systems below.
Steps to setting up systems
- Involve the team
- They are usually the ones doing the job everyday so will have ideas on how to do it more efficiently.
- If your team are involved in developing the system, they will ‘own’ it and are more likely to follow it.
- Identify the areas that need systems, these might be areas that;
- Have a big impact on the business if not done properly – e.g. vat wash
- Have to be done a certain way because of Health and Safety
- You have identified as having a lot of waste associated with them
- Identify the steps in the process
- Keep these to task level and as simple as possible
- Detail the steps
- If possible take photos of each step done properly
- Write notes to clarify each step as simply as possible
- Test the system to make sure it works
- Test with an experienced person
- Test with newest person on the team
- Put system at point of use
- Review the system after a week or so to make sure it makes sense
- Including too much detail and too many words in your system description
- Not including the team when setting up the system, the team needs to ‘own’ the system
Once you have completed the above, you can now move on to Step 6
Step 6 - Maintaining improvements
The biggest challenge is turning a focus on waste reduction into something the team does every day so it just becomes part of the way you do things.