The Seven Wastes identified by  the Toyota Manufacturing process (TPS), can be applied to the SERVICES Sector.

Any manager in manufacturing knows about the ‘7 Wastes’ that Toyota identified and used to define the TPS. These seven wastes consume a significant amount of cost, reduce quality and value to the client, reduce efficiency and reduce job satisfaction in a manufacturing business.

The seven wastes are:

  1. Over-production
  2. Motion
  3. Waiting
  4. Transportation
  5. Inappropriate processing
  6. Holding too much stock
  7. Rework

While these relate to manufacturing they have been very successfully translated to the Service sector as well. The approach, in simple terms, is to teach people about waste and what causes it and then engage people to improve processes by reducing the wastes.

Although there are only seven ‘official’ wastes, an eighth waste is sometimes referred to:

8.  Not harnessing employee creativity.

The 8th waste creates the environment for, and sustains the first 7 wastes.

Although not a true waste in itself, not harnessing employee creativity is often referred to as the ‘eighth waste’ as it is the waste that creates the environment for and sustains the other seven. However waste is the symptom not the problem; the two key things that cause waste are constraints or overburdening and variation. Managers must learn to recognise these two drivers and the wastes they create.

When people’s creativity is harnessed, they are genuinely engaged in continuously improving the processes. In so doing they also gain a level of control over and ownership in their work, which is the intrinsic value of the work itself. In other words, encouraging and harnessing creativity is important in engaging your employees.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) teaches us and Neuroscience shows us (in the last dozen years since MRI’s), the creative power of envisioning, intent, belief, independent decision making – with observable changes in our brains. All the above activities are part of creativity.

The eighth waste is your point of leverage in Services

As we apply the 7 Wastes to the Services industry – which depends on the human factor – it is patently obvious that harnessing employee creativity (the 8th waste) is the point of leverage for  effectiveness.  Remember, NOT harnessing your employees’ creativity creates the environment for and sustains the other seven wastes. The eighth waste is the most expensive imposition on your operation!

Is your business harnessing your people’s creativity? Do you know what that will look like and what it will sound like?  Creative energy is inspiring, contageous…with hints of chaos! A touch scary (for ‘control freaks’ in management roles)! But if you  have a clear and live, pumping vision, if you are clear and accountable for your business goals, then the last thing you can afford is that ‘eighth waste.