Here it is, what you have all been waiting for: The silver bullet of manufac- turing. We are going to
unlock the mystery of lean and skyrocket
you to success. Ready? If you answered
yes, then I know you haven’t read the last
two articles. (P.S. - there is no silver bullet. Sorry if I got you all excited.)
Have you taken action on last
Cut waste, add value
month’s challenges? If so, you will prob-
ably have noticed a significant change
in your body and state of mind. If you
have elected to pick and choose which
ones to execute, it might only be a mat-
ter of time until you realize they are all
connected. It took me 25 years to figure
it out. I know you can do better. If you’re
just tuning in, here is where you can
find the previous two articles: https://
The next step in your lean adven-
ture will be to increase your circle of
influence. Teaching something is often
the best way to solidify learning it. Your
leadership team, regardless of how big
or small, should now be introduced to
basic lean concepts. Step one should
always be to read, or listen to the book
“2-Second Lean,” by Paul Akers. He
does a great job of simplifying the con-
cept of continuous improvement.
Make time to discuss and teach the
Seven Deadly Wastes until your team
can see them everywhere like you do.
Getting your entire company on a
journey of continuous improvement is
closer than you think.
There is lots of information in the
public domain on the Seven Deadly
Wastes. Jim Lewis has some great
books to help identify waste. They can
be found at https://www.smashwords.
com/books/view/582580 and at Ama-
zon.com. You Tube is a resource as well.
Before you engage your leadership
Seven deadly wastes
team and staff, first become familiar
with the wastes yourself. Then teach
the team to see them. An important
detail to teach your team will be the
difference between “value adding” and
“non-value adding” activity. Value is
added when parts or products actually
change shape and come one step closer
to a customer’s expectation. Everything
else is non-value added. Let’s look at an
example of cutting a sheet of plywood.
I walk over to the material storage
rack, I pick up a sheet of plywood, I
walk over to the saw, I set the sheet
down on the saw, I reach down to turn
on the saw, I line up the wood on the
fence, I start to push the sheet forward,
the blade starts cutting, I set the good
part on a shop cart, I turn off the saw,
I dispose of the offcuts, the cut wood
travels to the next step in the process.
If that took 5 minutes, the only value
added was the actual cutting, which
only accounted for seconds. Everything
else is technically waste. And that’s what
we are looking to reduce.
Here are the Seven Deadly Wastes,
Cutting waste and adding value
with a brief description of each.
by Brad Cairns
firstname.lastname@example.org LEAN JOURNEYS
Learn how to identify waste and increase value as you accelerate your lean journey.
See more at the
See more columns at
; Want more? Read Brad Cairns columns at
Brad Cairns is the senior principal at The Center for Lean
Learning as well as running a woodworking business called
Best Damn Doors in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, where
he puts lean thinking into action every day. You can reach
Brad at 519-494-2883 or email@example.com.