By Steve Upham : altspace Coworking Office, Altrincham

Our monthly networking business meetings with the FSB ( Federation of Small Businesses ) always bring together a rich mix of diverse businesses.  This June’s meeting was no exception where we listened to Raji Vadiyanathan * introduce us to Tim Woods.  Over 60 entertaining minutes we all learned that this is an acronym for a lean business model that’s applicable to most commercial organisations.

The lean model advocates providing the most value from a customer perspective, while consuming the fewest resources and utilising the talents of those who complete the work.  Tim Woods summarises the 8 forms of waste found in commercial processes.  Many of us can relate to inefficiencies related to the following areas.

Transportation – moving items or information

Inventory – items or information that the customer may not have received

Motion – excessive movement within the workspace

Waiting – for info or items to arrive

Overprocessing – doing more work than necessary

Overproduction – doing work before it is needed

Defects – mistakes and errors

Skills – not using workers to fullest abilities

Raji proposed a neat little tennis ball game to get us all thinking about the optimum performance model for transporting balls across the office.  There was a bit of debate, a lot of laughs and a few errant tennis balls but it did achieve it’s goal of getting us to think precisely about an efficient system to aid transportation.  The key take out for the evening being how can we be more effective in the future without any further investment of time or money.  A lean approach helps businesses achieve more by thinking more laterally about their teams and the processes involved.

* Raji is the Director of Hoshin Kanrin Advisory Services Ltd