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Waste — Automating Manual Process Steps Through Macros

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  • #54625

    Rajiv
    Guest

    Automation of manual process steps through Macros – Which Lean Tool is used and in which type of waste this can be classified?

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    #196369

    Mike86
    Guest

    If you’re talking Excel or Word, that’s probably the VBA or Visual Basic Application tool. Of course, macros also have the ability to significantly increase work if they’re not developed or used appropriately.

    From a Lean perspective, you’re eliminating extra movements and wasted time.

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    #196376

    Prabhu V
    Participant

    Automated process is known for eliminating labor costs, it is one of a family of four work processes characterized (Artisan Process, Project Process, Operations Process, Automated Process)
    From my opinion, it may attack all 8 types of wastes as defined by the Lean principles as below.

    Transport
    Inventory
    Motion
    Waiting
    Over processing
    Over production
    Defects
    Skills (Under-utilized)

    Regards

    Prabhu V.

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    #196377

    Vanka
    Participant

    Lean technique that can be used is ‘Just in Time (JIT)’ to identify and eliminate waste. Waste type is ‘Over Processing’.

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    #196380

    Anonymous
    Guest

    Hi Rajiv,

    As far as I understand, Automation can not be a primary Lean Solution. We have to optimize the process first, reduce wastes and then think of (possible) automation. Goal of Automation is more about Poka-yoke than reducing/eliminating wastes.

    Think this in terms of a Highway; you may reach faster, the wrong destination!

    So, I hope you have optimized the manual steps and then thinking of writing a macro to speed it up.

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    #196431

    Jeremiah Lewis
    Participant

    I echo all that has been noted about VBA macros. Don’t automate a bad process.

    Also, you may get caught up in writing code so much that the time spent writing, debugging, and maintaining code may be more than would be saved from automating the process. Writing the code may be an educational experience and therefore good to do but be careful.

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    #196432

    Jeremiah Lewis
    Participant

    Most of the time, the process you automate will be too complex to just record and have VBA write the code for you. You almost always will have to modify the code somewhat.

    If your code is versatile enough to handle the nuances of data entry, user errors, and consistently get the correct output then it is worthwhile. This will not only save time but ensure that the output is correct.

    I recommend trying to make it break the system and doing a series of DOE’s on the code to test its robustness.

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