Intellectual Waste

There are 8 wastes associated with a Lean Six Sigma process that are vital to the success of the implementation. The 8 wastes are: over production, excessive processing, non-productive inventory, excessive motion, unnecessary transportation, non-standard work, waiting, and intellectual capital. Eliminating these 8 wastes will add more value to the processes, and increase customer satisfaction. The intellectual capital of the staff involved with the implementation is the most important tool that cannot be emphasized enough with any movement of change. Trained, skilled workers are a precious attribute to the organization and they are critical to the success of a Lean Six Sigma implementation. The knowledge of the staff must be utilized in order to create a free-form flow of ideas, opinions, and suggestions.

Executing these ideas will require a few courageous, visionary, leaders to turn these ideas into action. There will be initial skepticism, but this will disappear as results begin to appear. It is also important to realize that “non-value added” activities are not the people trying to do something wrong. These employees are just working at trying to provide the best service possible. The true barrier is the existing system. Once Lean Six Sigma is applied to the system, employees will find that they are able to respond to and serve the patients faster and more efficiently. The result is higher satisfaction for the patients and for the staff, and lower costs of providing service.

The hesitation of incorporating the system of Lean Six Sigma lies in the biology of human beings and the natural inertia to change. To react to this fear of change, Lean Six Sigma teams should be sure to incorporate a minimal training of Lean Six Sigma into employee orientation modules, and it should be worked into performance reviews. Most importantly, it should be emphasized that the Lean Six Sigma principles do not advocate labor reduction by way of lay-offs. Efficiencies will be gained, and positions will be eliminated through attrition. In other words, staff should not be afraid to offer improvement.

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