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The Waste of Motion

Business Process Management

Motion waste happens any time people or machinery are required to make movements that don’t add any value to the overall process. Each step of your processes should be completed with as little movement as possible. This includes small movements like bending over and reaching, and large movements like taking components from one station to the next. Common causes of motion waste include:

  • Poor process design and monitoring
  • Poor workspace layouts
  • Shared and congested workstations
  • Isolated operations
  • Poorly systemized workflows

What Motion Waste Looks Like

Motion waste can be costing your business time and resources without you even knowing it. Consider how much time people spend gathering materials, rearranging workstations, and moving around the office. Most of this movement likely does not add value to your business, and even detracts from the bottom line. Consider these other common examples of motion waste:

  • Searching for information
  • Searching for tools and materials
  • Movement around the office from computers to printers to filing systems
  • Rearranging items in a shared workspace
  • Making space for a new project in a small workspace
  • Moving parts and components from one machine to another

The Solution

The key to reducing motion waste is carefully examining your layouts and processes to find areas of excess. Once you identify these areas, you can take steps to reduce the wasteful motions. The following suggestions can be adjusted to suit any working environment:

  • Create and use checklists to ensure smooth and consistent workflows.
  • Provide step-by-step procedures for workers to reduce unplanned movement.
  • Rearrange storage and office/plant layout..
  • Reassign or redesign work stations to ensure smooth transitions.

Are there more opportunities to reduce waste in your business? Learn how with the previous post in this series: The Waste of Inventory, and the next post: The Waste of Excess Processing Without Value.

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