Posts by Mike Baer

Lean Wastes #8–Over Processing

Value is defined as delivering something for which a client is willing to pay. It applies to products and services overall as well as individual features of the product or service. In short, to design and deliver something for which the client will not pay you is waste. It’s time, resources, and money misspent. We…

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Lean Wastes #7–Motion

Now, of course I don’t mean getting your steps in but I do mean unnecessary walking around, driving around, etc. to get your job done. One of the things I’ve done in my lean journey is a “spaghetti map” of an office or branch. It’s simple. Just track when people get up and move to…

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Wastes of Lean #6–Inventory

In manufacturing, inventory is a waste because it’s not being sold. It’s in a warehouse collecting dust not payment. Therefore, it’s waste. Lean manufacturing strives to keep inventory to a bare minimum and use a JIT (just in time) methodology that only produce what is needed when it is needed. In a service business like…

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Lean Waste #5: Transportation

You can certainly imagine how much time and money is spent moving materials, equipment and products around, whether by fork-lift or truck on the road. This is not complicated but it’s common. Where this waste is hard to find is in office, professional type work. So, think in terms of moving information. Too many people…

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The 4th Waste of Lean—Unused Talent

Years ago, when I was cutting my teeth on Total Quality Management (TQM, the predecessor to Lean) we would say, “With every pair of hands you get a free brain. Use it!” The reference was to talent hired in, mainly, manufacturing and logistics settings that were never asked their opinion or for input on how…

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Waste #3–Waiting

“Please take a seat,” they say. “The doctor will be right with you.” Lies. Lies! It’s all LIES! They will not be right with you. They’re overschedule and behind and even though you showed up early, you will WAIT until they are ready to see you. What a waste of your time! All waiting is…

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When Two Paths Converged

I, Mike Baer, started working in Business as Mission in the early 1990’s.  The former Soviet Union had collapsed and left the entire empire in terrible economic distress—especially followers of Jesus in the heavily Muslim republics.  A group of us joined forces and began helping the persecuted Christian minority population start small or micro businesses. …

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Waste #2–Over Production

Inventory, whether it be produce, parts, food, or people ready to hire is waste. If you make or process more than you need it may seem wise but in reality you’ve spent money for something you can use now. You may be able to use it next week or next year (if you’re not dealing…

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Lean Waste #1–Defects

Any time we make a mistake—whether in crafting a product, updating the GL, filling an order, etc.—we either have to do it over or deliver to our customer something that isn’t right. The matrix of possible defects is huge. Wrong number. Wrong thing. Wrong data. Wrong food. Wrong answer. Wrong price. Wrong solution. Wrong fit.…

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The 8 Wastes of Lean: Introduction

One of the people who taught me lean processes years ago defined lean as “the least way way to bring value to the customer.” Lean practitioners and would be/should be practitioners identify and eliminate waste; the Japanese word is “muda.” It’s that simple. According to lean teaching, there are 8 types of waste. They are…

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