Will Rogers on how to prevent waste

Posted on May 21, 2012 by


Within a lean environment we try to remove waste in all its forms:

  • Overproduction
  • Inventory
  • Extra Processing Steps
  • Motion
  • Defects
  • Waiting
  • Transportation

However, what sort of attitudes and working practices allow waste to be created in the above categories?

Well, in a word: complacency.

One of my favorite Will Rogers quotes is:

“Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.”

Wherever complacency exists in a business, there will be massive resistance to change. These attitudes of success and entitlement, “We’re good, we’re successful. Why improve?”, coupled with little real interest will create waste through errors and mistakes.

The worst type of complacency is that which exists with senior management, as with a lack of top level leadership areas tend to attempt to sub-optimize their goals and objectives.

What works well is if you can get senior managers to not only support with words, but with actions by participating in layered audits and in daily gemba walks. Much like MBWA or Management by Walking Around, gemba walks are an activity that takes management to the front lines to look for waste and opportunities to practice gemba kaizen, or practical shopfloor improvement.

How do YOU prevent waste?

Posted in: Culture, Leadership, Lean