Norm Bodek on Waste
The link above is a new column written by our friend Norman Bodek (the guest for our first podcast) about the different types of waste, as view from a Toyota Production System perspective.
“Waiting time is waste. I have visited more than 250 manufacturing plants in Japan, and I don’t remember seeing a person standing, watching a machine and waiting for the process to end, in any of them. I have been to numerous plants in America, and I always see people waiting and watching machines. Just last year I visited a plant in the South and saw many workers standing and waiting, and saw one worker just sitting, for he didn’t know what else to do. Managers would walk by as if the worker didn’t really exist. I like Toyota’s idea of making sure that people are always moving, and that it may be alright for machines to wait. With JIT, we want to produce only what our customers have ordered, and it doesn’t matter that much if machines sit and wait.”
This isn’t just a manufacturing problem. I think some of this behavior must be human nature almost. In medical labs, the med techs are often standing and watching the equipment. It is waste in healthcare, just as it is waste in manufacturing.