Austin’s post from September 24, 2017, Effectively Managing Retail Product Waste, reminded me of a colleague who always talks about the concept of Muda. He used to be in manufacturing years ago, and owned a bakery at one time. Muda is a Japanese word which translates to wastefulness. It was developed by Toyota’s Chief Engineer Taiichi Ohno as part of the Toyota Production system and is also known as Lean Manufacturing. (McBride) There are eight types of waste and all of them can affect the bottom line if not properly managed.
I will use a bakery to illustrate these wastes.
- Overproduction: If the bakery is only selling 100 croissants a day, there is no reason to make 120. Produce what is needed and that will require good historical data and paying attention to trends, seasons, and holidays.
- Waiting: Are the processes in the correct order? Cake orders need cake layers, fillings, and icings made before they can be put together. Are the components being made in the correct order or is the cake decorator waiting for fillings but has icings?
- Transportation: How is the product flowing through the production cycle? Are products being moved numerous times before they are completed?
- Unnecessary Inventory/Storage: Is someone making extra items because there were mistakes and they threw something out? Extra inventory of raw perishable products such as eggs, dairy, and fruit can be very costly. Most bakeries do not have unlimited refrigeration/freezer, pantry, and rack space. Where will the items be stored?
- Inappropriate Processing: If they are selling 4000 assorted cookies a day it will be faster and more efficient to buy a cookie depositor. If they are only selling 20 cookies a day the appropriate sized scoop is fine and a depositor would be overkill.
- Excess Motion: This can also go into health and safety issues. When employees move the 50# bags of flour, are they lifting properly? When they walk across the kitchen to wash a spatula are they bringing back a bowl for the next task?
- Defects: Did they forget the nuts in the white chocolate, macadamia cookies? Are the chocolate croissants missing the chocolate? Was the vanilla ice cream made with extract instead of vanilla beans? Was the recipe measured incorrectly resulting in the final product being thrown out?
- Underutilizing Employees’ Creativity and Talent: Employees often have great ideas on how to do a job more efficiently-are you asking them for input? Are you asking your employees to design a cake, a new breakfast pastry, or a new cookie?
Although Muda was developed as part of a manufacturing process, if you start to observe your own workplace you most likely will find areas of waste. How long are breaks and lunches? Time, the one thing we can never get back, is often wasted-no pun intended. As an entrepreneur, preventing waste and being aware of the costs associated with them is another one of our responsibilities. How will you prevent waste at your startup?
McBride, David. 7 Wastes Muda Article on the Seven Wastes of Lean Manufacturing, EMS
Consulting Group, 29 Aug. 2003, www.emsstrategies.com/dm090203article2.html.
Muda, Mura, Muri.” Lean.org, Lean Enterprise, www.lean.org/lexicon/muda-mura-muri.
“The Seven Wastes-Lean Manufacturing.” The Seven Wastes-Lean Manufacturing, EMS Consulting
Group, 2 Feb. 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAYMcSUDcX0.