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Stop wasting resources

by | Academic Stuff, Business

I have learned excellent lessons in life about productivity and performance, it can almost certainly always be improved. No matter the size, nature or field of any given organization.  In this article, I will share some thoughts about wasting resources.

I studied Production Engineering at college, which made is a process engineer focused on maximizing productivity while reducing waste across every step of the production process for any product or service.

My thesis work was based on the study of manufacturing processes in the pastry industry to improve performance through lean manufacturing technologies. So you can say I was really into the main essence of what a Production Engineer is supposed to do and I entered the professional field I realized just how unproductive companies and organizations are.

It does not matter if you’re an entrepreneur and your startup is just starting to see the light of its meaning or if you’re working at a large multinational company, chances are its performance can be improved considerably.

So I wanted to state three signs that may hint you about wasted resources at your workplace. Even if you’re working from home. Things like an excess of unnecessary movements, waiting times and inventory surplus are just some of the things that some organizations do not take into account when analyzing their operations to optimize them.

1. Waste of motion






This is the most common kind of waste I’ve encountered across several organizations. No matter if we’re talking about a political organization or a tech startup; having the number of movements you and your team have to do to complete a task or a series of functions checked is key to identify and remove excessive movements.

We can find this kind of waste in our homes as well. The next time you go to the kitchen to get a glass of water take a closer look at your movements. You might be repeating movements, like going back and forward to the fridge. You may think this is a trivial thing but when we start to give time a monetary value each and every second counts.

Another example, this time in the workplace it is evident in offices that have a copy room. Sure making your staff get up off their chairs a few times a day is good for their health (see why standing desks are a great addition to your traditional desk), but it is most certainly not good for your company’s performance.

There are several options for organizations that want to motivate their employees’ to stand up more that is not at the expense of the company’s performance.

2. Waste of Defects






One of the worst things a company can face is having defective products or services. If you sell light bulbs and 1 out of 5 gets broken when used by a customer or if you sell a web hosting solution and your servers’ downtime are long you’re going to face two very unproductive scenarios:


  1. You’ll have to deal with returning defective-products or not-so-happy emails from customers that bought your service. This means you will have to allocate some staff to receive, process and solve those issues. This translates into fewer people manufacturing, researching and designing new products which will impact the organization performance directly.2. You’ll need to address a quality control issue inside your production line. If you’re not familiar with the differences between quality control and quality assurance, read this post. The main thing here is that is way more productive to have a quality assurance policy in place that a quality control one. The latter would check goods post-manufacturing as opposed to quality assurance that will prevent any defects or issues at any step of the manufacturing process, reducing or even removing defective outputs altogether.

3. Waste of Un-utilized people






A rookie mistake for any manager at any organization is to fail taking full advantage of its team’s talent. Having an inventory of each member’s skill helps to avoid having people arms crossed.

I know not all organizations may face this issue as you would need to have a relatively large team for this to happen. Nevertheless, having a task assigned to a wrong team member can be a type of waste to fall into this category.

A good manager or team leader would know not only who’s the best person to accomplish any given task but would also tell the ones that are not suited with the right knowledge/experience too.

4. Waste of over-processing






I have seen this kind of waste in startups that are obsessed with building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) so hard that they never realize whenever they have something worthy of market testing.

This issue is quickly addressed with the right mentoring from external experts that would provide neutral feedback about the state of a prototype.

This kind of waste is widespread in public offices and banks. The next time you have to complete any request with the public administration in your city or country check if it out for unnecessary duplicates, paperwork or requirements. If you have to go to more than one place or to fill out your information more that one time for the same procedure, chances are they are making you waste your time.

Have you experience or observed some of these wastes at your workplace?

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