A previous post focused on five steps for improving our use of time. In that post it was suggested that using “time” as a measure to find and focus opportunities for improvement has three big advantages:
- Time drives important business results
- Time is universally applicable
- It is very simple to do
Should you decide to launch a time management improvement plan in your organization, it will be important to prepare people by ensuring that the following points are thoroughly understood:
- The waste in the system is not the fault of the people doing the work; it is there because of the way the process is designed or because of the way that the supplying processes are designed.
- The people closest to the work can help you find and fix what is wrong with the way the processes are designed.
- Recognizing non-value-adding work does not mean that you can simply make it go away. It only means it is a candidate for elimination or reduction. An effective solution may not yet be at hand. That’s OK. Recognizing the waste is the first step to searching for a better way.
- Value-added work is not as plentiful as people might think – on average, only 20% of all work is truly value-added. Keep in mind, every process will contain “necessary” work that is not value-added. The goal is to optimize time spent on value-added work, reduce time spent on other work, and eliminate waste.
- Someone who has never done this before might find it difficult to identify non-value-added work during their analysis because it is hard to recognize the waste in standard operating procedures. “If we have always had to do something, it usually seems that it surely must add value,” they will likely think. In addition, rework typically compensates for a problem that is so familiar that everyone takes it for granted. Recognize and improve as much as you can, then circle back and look again.
- With practice and coaching (and amnesty) people can identify more opportunity.
- Everyone must have amnesty. If people are afraid for their jobs, either because they might be blamed for the waste or be no longer needed if the work is streamlined, there is every disincentive to find and eliminate waste.
- Successes in reducing cycle time or saving time overall should be measured and celebrated!