Have you ever wondered how to describe and present the 8 Lean wastes in an appealing and attractive way to catch your audience’s attention and leave a permanent connection in their mind? How about hiring the 10th Muse for that task? With a pinch of salt let’s see how Hollywood and other film studios can facilitate the process for us.
Ladies and Gentlemen…I’m proudly presenting the eight wastes unconsciously hidden in spectacular million dollar productions known to you, loved by you, and now exposed to you in a slightly different context…
1. Transportation Waste – Cast Away
FedEx always pays its debts. The delivery might be time consuming, expensive and even dangerous, but it reaches its destination. And if it doesn’t, you may be certain it served a good reason – the saved life of a castaway for instance.
Anyway, the delivery has its price. Have you ever thought what the possible cost of transportation could be? Financial loss might only be the first spoke of the ladder. The other potential scenarios are paved with emotional breakdown, life shattering discoveries or personality denial. You don’t buy it? Just watch the trailer below… and recall it in your attempts to reduce the first of the deadly wastes.
2. Inventory Waste – Breaking Bad
Do you recall the 5th season scene of a garage literally filled with pile of banknotes? That was quite an inventory wasn’t it? Watching the whole series I had an irresistible impression that for someone so obsessed with this stashing desire the fairy tale just has to go bad. You’ll find yourself in trouble anytime you’re unable to estimate how much is enough. This applies to many scenarios whether it is money in your garage, production parts in your company or the amount of chicken breasts in your refrigerator.
3. Motion Waste – Kitchen Stories
“In 1944 Swedish scientists studied the habits of housewives to design a spatially perfect working environment…”
If you happened to see the Kitchen Stories – a Norwegian film by Bent Hammer where Swedish efficiency researchers come to Norway for a study of Norwegian men to optimize their use of their kitchen – then you have a visual understanding of how motion (and transport) impacts our life. The plot was based on the studied assumption that an average Swedish housewife traveled the equivalent of a Stockholm to the Congo* distance per year while preparing daily meals at that time.
*After my pocket distance calculator claimed it’s over 7,000 km beeline, I have finally realized the reason of the ultimate success of companies like IKEA that took motion waste deeply into consideration while developing their business strategies.
4. Waiting Waste – Pursuit of Happiness
Can you recall your last job interview? Remember your preparation, your neat suit, all the respect you treated your potential future employer with…no doubt you considered him as your best customer. Just like a regular client he would hate to wait for you. Therefore you came on time, considering all the risky situations that may occur on your way, you made sure you had a sufficient margin to compensate for all potential delays.
The main character, Chris Garner, doesn’t get that chance. His turn for an interview comes when he is far away dressed in shabby clothes with his hands dirty from painting his apartment. In his desperation he intuitively understands that putting his potential employer in the waiting position is not an option. Instead he enters the meeting on time, but in his hilarious looking dress and…wins the crowd by proving his engagement and motivation.
Waiting doesn’t only result in delays causing financial impact, sometimes it means your customer choses someone else, your employee resigns or your wife-to-be enters a faster train.
5. Over-Production Waste – The Chicken Run
,“The Tweedys are a middle-aged couple who run a struggling chicken farm. The chicken coop is run in the style of a prisoner of war camp, with the chickens accountable for the number of eggs they lay daily. Their unofficial leader Ginger has attempted numerous escapes, but is routinely thwarted by Mr. Tweedy and his dogs.”
May sound brutal to you already but the severe part is yet to come. All of a sudden we are directly confronted with the vicious overproduction attempt resulting from a sheer greediness of the merciless farmers…
“Seeing their income drop, Mrs. Tweedy finds an article in a magazine suggesting a new way to bring in more profits. The chickens are surprised by a large piece of equipment being delivered to the farm, followed by Mrs. Tweedy’s order to double their feed rations. Ginger concludes that they are being fattened up for slaughter. Soon after she is taken by Mr. Tweedy for a test of their new equipment, which is revealed to be a machine for making chicken pot pies.”
The outcome is predictable. The chickens become increasingly desperate to find a plan of escape, they launch a revolt, brainstorm the exit possibilities, and finally fly away with a help of a sophisticated, innovative machine that you’d never expect them to create. They teach us a lesson at the same time; overproduction doesn’t only impact the customer, it mainly drives our own staff crazy and frantic to breathe the fresh air of freedom from wastes.
6. Over-Processing Waste – Whiplash
Whiplash is a story of pushing the limits, a story of over-processing and overburdening of an ambitious student musician by an abusive, yet respected instructor.
“I was there to push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that is… an absolute necessity. Otherwise, we’re depriving the world of the next Louis Armstrong. The next Charlie Parker.”
Now this one is going to be tricky. If you’re able to track the allegory of the sixth waste in the movie, you may be surprised by the unexpected ending which may contradict the effect that we would expect the extensive over-processing to have. But would you follow this path to achieve results? Would you mark your way with blood just to claw your way to success?
7. Defects Waste – 12 Angry Man
How devastating can a defect possibly be? What kind of consequences can result from a wrong decision based on inaccurate judgment? The life of a young man, who has been accused of committing a murder has been entrusted to a jury made up of 12 men who have the right to decide whether the boy is guilty. A guilty verdict will be accompanied by the death sentence; however, if there’s reasonable doubt of the boy’s crime that the jury agrees with, he will be released. Will they or will they not reach an erroneous verdict?
The movie doesn’t only show literally how deadly a potential defect can become, it mainly explores methods of consensus building, effective persuasion techniques, rhetorical tricks, and the difficulties accompanying the decision making process among a group of people with diversified backgrounds and vast range of characters.
8. Under-utilized Talent – Good Will Hunting
Are you in the right place? You may think you’re doing the right thing, following the right path. The one you’re bound to considering the history, conditions, and commitments you have. But you’re not. Just like Will Hunting played by Matt Damon you need to question the solid ground of your customs to unleash the real potential. Similarly to him, you may need some guidance from your personal Dr. Sean Maguire (played by ever memorable Robin Williams) – the Master Black Belt of the human heart. Exorcise the demons wasting time in your processes at your workplace and in your life…
Autor: Paweł Mihułka - Project Manager, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, State Street
Kurs: "Usprawnianie procesu. Lean Six Sigma"
Absolwent Wydziału Elektrotechniki, Automatyki, Informatyki i Elektroniki AGH. Długoletni pracownik telekomunikacyjnego twórcy Six Sigma – firmy Motorola Solutions Polska, gdzie zdobywał szlify tej metodologii prowadząc projekty usprawnieniowe. Obecnie zaangażowany w analizę biznesową, kierowanie projektami oraz wprowadzanie metodologii Lean do dużych organizacji.
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