Reducing storage excess in offices

Posted at:
Sep 02, 2022
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Business Process Improvement
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* Reducing Inventory Excess in Lean Office

“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.”

Shigeo Shingo

According to Taiichi Ohno, the father of lean and one of the forerunners of Lean Manufacturing and was part of the team that developed the Toyota Production System, one of the first steps to becoming lean is to eliminate waste in a process. In 1988, he defined seven types of Muda. An eighth Muda was added later on.   In a traditional business setting, Inventory Excess refers to the excess of any kind of office material such as computers, office equipment, furniture, stationery, papers, paperwork, and archives. Corporate offices for example are known for purchasing office supplies in copious quantities before they are needed to save money or to have them ready when new employees join.   Nowadays, Inventory Excess is a term that encompasses any physical or digital product that is in a waiting phase. It refers to the accumulation of WIP (Work in Progress). It can be overloaded inboxes, unfinished tasks, long to-do lists, bottlenecks in the project development pipelines, and unbalanced resource assignment charts. If you want to be able to detect this form of waste, try to look at any resource in your workspace. If that resource is sitting idle and waiting to be utilized or processed, that means it is being wasted.   The Muda of Inventory Excess in the office can take (but is not limited to) any of the following forms:

  • Unread email, full inboxes
  • Excessive office supplies: parts, furniture, stationery, paperwork, archives
  • Any form of batch processing: i.e., transactions, reports
  • Obsolete files or office equipment
  • Unfinished projects in the pipeline
  • Purchased software that is not being deployed

  To eliminate Inventory Excess in your office, start by identifying any physical and digital inventory and making lists of any resources that are not being used. Management of this inventory can be vital to keeping your customers satisfied and your employees productive.

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