Over the last 9 posts, including the summary, we looked at the types of waste to look for in processes. We also touched on the fact that one type of waste can lead to one or more additional types, such as waiting leading to inventory buildup and staff underutilization. The great thing about that is that if you address the root cause for one of those, you will address the root cause for all of them.
And in my experience, that is often how this works. Fixing a transportation issue suddenly means that you are finishing work in half of the time. Even if a lot of that was just waiting between steps, that means that you have less unfinished inventory, physical or virtual, in process.
What does this mean to the customer? After all, nothing we have talked about is directly related to how we work with or what we provide to the customer? Or is it?
I would argue that it is and that your customer service will improve, sometimes dramatically, if you can eliminate waste from your processes. After all, all of your processes lead in some manner to a product or service for your customer. Going through the 8 types, here is how your customer will benefit.
- Transportation – Addressing this will lead to time savings and getting the product or service to the customer faster while decreasing the risk of defects.
- Inventory – Anything sitting around has the chance to become lost, stolen, damaged, corrupted. Plus it can get in the way. It is embarrasing to tell a customer you lost something. And decreasing inventory means you are providing faster service.
- Motion – This is another area where you can save time and reduce defects as well as have a positive effect on your staff
- Waiting – The less of this, the faster the product or service is delivered to the customer.
- Overproduction – Eliminating this means that you have the products and services that the customer wants when they want them.
- Overprocessing – Means a faster delivery to the customer and helps eliminate products or services that the customer does not want, making your delivery of the desired products or services that much more efficient.
- Defects – No customer likes a product with a problem. Or a delay due to a bad part.
- Staff – The front end staff will provide amazing guidance on how to serve the customer better. That will flow through all levels.
So, when looking for waste in processes, don’t be concerned about what type it is. Fixing one type will often fix another. It will help your bottom line and it will help your customer service. That combination does not happen every day. So get to it!