Friday, August 22, 2014

I’ve Completed My Waste Walk. . . Now What?

A couple weeks ago, we posted about Waste Walks. In fact, there’s a lot of information out on the internet that you can just Google and discover.

  • Are Waste Walks a good thing? Absolutely.
  • Are they applicable outside of a manufacturing only environment? Without a doubt.
  • Is there a good form or checklist available? A plethora. 

Remember, the most important thing is to identify what you see – what type of waste it is, potential causes, and potential solutions. This sets you up for the next part – which is what you are going to do about it.

A waste walk can ultimately provide a fresh perspective of your existing operations, and illuminate improvement opportunities that might be overlooked when employees are focused on routine tasks or crisis management, depending on the cyclical nature of your business. The key to a waste walk, like any physical activity, is the forward motion. The most important element to a waste walk isn’t the time spent reviewing and documenting waste, though they are certainly vital components; it’s the follow-on actions that lead to improvements or changes in the way things are done.

What does MMTC look for during a waste walk? First, we really view it as an Improvement Opportunity Assessment. When scheduled, we’ll come out to your facility and we’ll look for the typical types of waste. But in addition to that, we’ll look for evidence of efficient operations, and this goes beyond typical evidence of waste. 

Leadership is a crucial component of every successful business venture. Is there evidence of management commitment and company vision? By walking the shop floor or office areas, is there visual or other evidence of the company culture and do the employees exhibit an awareness of how their job contributes to the overall organizational success? Is there a clear form and function for every action? Is there an active 5S or visual order to daily activities?

How do parts flow through the organization? Whether raw materials to finished goods or purchase order to delivery, there should be a recognized process in place. Is there evidence of versatility and cross-training between functions? Are parts produced as needed or are there large quantities of inventory or piles of paperwork waiting for processing? How are mistakes identified? Is there a control or quality verification process in place?

Are employees equipped and empowered to conduct their own problem solving or root cause analysis? Is performance tracked in any way? Are there regular maintenance or process checks in place?

In addition to the above, we provide a detailed comprehensive evaluation by area, a benchmarking percentile radar chart comparing your performance against best in class, and recommendations for decisive improvements.

For more information about MMTC products and services or to schedule an improvement opportunity assessment at your facility, email us at

Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

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