Monday, 9 May 2011

Lean services - types of waste

Back in October 2010 I made a long post about 'Lean" - the idea that successful operations are those that strictly focus on those activities which 'add value' and abhor waste.  

I have just noticed a most comprehensive list of sources of waste, reported in Radnor et al  - Evaluation of the Lean Approach to Business Management and its Use in the Public Sector Scottish Executive Social Research 2006 
  • Rework
  • Preparing unnecessary reports
  • Working with badly designed IT systems
  • Fire fighting
  • Working from unreliable information
  • Checking other people's work
  • Too many meetings/working groups
  • Progress chasing
  • Doing things others have already done
  • Obtaining authorisation
  • Work not fit for purpose
  • Dealing with failure demand (i.e. demand for a service which results from failure to do something which is expected - e.g. "I am just calling up to find out what has happened to the referral I made")
How typical, I wonder, are these sources of waste in child protection work and how much more effective would services be if they could be severely reduced or eliminated?