Monday, January 11, 2016

Waste (Muda)

In Japanese, the word for waste is muda. Any time, activity or resources that do not add value can be considered waste. Traditionally, there are seven forms of muda. However, many Lean practitioners have added an eighth, in recent years.  The “waste of talent” or the “waste of underutilized human potential” is the waste of not utilizing staff effectively, not acknowledging their unique talents and perceptions, or potential intellectual contributions. Lean considers people to be the most valuable asset in an organization. Lean encourages us to seek the wisdom of ten people, rather than the knowledge of one.

As stated in the book Lean Hospitals, the types of waste and their definitions are:

Time spent doing something incorrectly, inspecting for errors, or fixing errors.
Ex.: Surgery pack missing the scalpel handle; replacing a bandage that was applied too tightly.

Doing more than what is needed by the customer or doing it sooner than needed.
Ex.: Labeling heartworm preventative before the test results are available.

Unnecessary movement of the “product” (patients, specimens, materials) in a system.
Ex.: Repeatedly taking a patient back and forth to a cage because resources are not available when needed.

Waiting for the next event to occur or next work activity.
Ex.: Waiting for the processor to be turned on and warmed up before being able to take a needed radiograph.

Excess inventory cost through financial costs, storage and movement costs, spoilage, wastage.
Ex.: Ordering 3 years worth of ointment because you got a free pair of “earbuds” for your smart phone.

Unnecessary movement by employees in the system.
Ex.: Chasing down the pair of bandage scissors that belong in Exam 1.

Doing work that is not valued by the customer or caused by definitions of quality that are not aligned with patient needs.
Ex.: Centrifuging a blood tube longer than necessary; collecting client email addresses that are never used.

Human potential
Waste and loss due to not engaging employees, listening to their ideas, or supporting their careers.
Ex.: Idea by staff to attach a small basket to front of cage to keep patient personal items and meds from being misplaced is ignored.

There are two types of muda. Type 1 muda is “necessary waste,” or at least necessary for the time being. For example, taking time to write medical records is not something that the client would voluntarily pay for and it does not physically make the patient any healthier (transform the product), but it is necessary in a veterinary practice for legal or other reasons.

Type 2 muda is unnecessary waste. It is waste that can be removed immediately without causing any other ill effect. For example, waiting an excessively long time for the doctor to get into the exam room. This is not something that the client would pay for and it does not make the patient healthier. It has no place in the value stream. This category is sometimes called “pure waste.”

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