The resource of our organisations and our society is the "spirit" of individuals.
How effective is our society in coordinating this "spirit?"
Is there significant scope for improvement?
The premise of this initiative is that there has been extensive research over the past decades of how we utilise the talents of individuals within organisation and society. As this research fundamentally challenges traditional organisational thinking, little of it has been applied.
This file details the waste society and our organisations accept by adhering to old organisational concepts.
We would stress that there is no mileage in blaming individuals. We are all caught in the trap of how our society or our organisations think. The opportunity for development and learning is in identifying the underlying thinking (theories) and a willingness to challenge them.
This site would welcome illustrations of waste in our organisations and in our society. Please do submit you own personal examples for inclusion on this site.
1. Changing a three pin 13amp plug
The above link shows a flow diagram/picture of the procedure for changing three pin 13 amp plug in a local authority house. 20 years ago we would simply have asked a skilled electrician to fix the problem - what has happened in the intervening period that has caused us to so complicate a relatively simple job? Think of the waste inherent in this diagram - plus also the lack of belief in the skill of the electrician.
2. The Clean Stream project - The Grampian Justice System
The above link depicts the success of a project in Grampian looking at the time taken, in summary cases, from when a felon is charged to the conclusion of the court case. The consultants providing advice on this project were Vanguard.(http://www.lean-service.com/home.asp)
The reader will observe that the average time taken was reduced from 247 days to 35 days and the variation from 744 to 113 days. The essence of the project was that it encouraged cross function communication without having to go up and down the hierarchy. It involved the police, the court services, procurator fiscals, social workers, lawyers etc etc and for the project they were given an open plan office so that communication was straight forward.
The graph depicts the improvement secured when we move away from "command & control" principles and onto trusting front line staff and enabling them to communicate across functions and with their peers.
The observable waste is two fold
“Standardisation is an important role for continuous improvement. This is at the core of Lean. Six Sigma and other related system change initiatives. It should be noted, however, that the power of standardisation is achieved only when it is led on a voluntary basis by the front line workforce”
- Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld in the Annotated Edition of the Human Side of Enterprise
There is a need for standards, but equally there is a need to involve those at the work face who are using the standards. Our thinking in the West is that it is "management's" task to provide instructions and then ensure that the workforce follow those instructions. The net result is that the standards are written by the hierarchy attempting to cover every detail - but without any concern for those using the standard - how easily it is as simulated nor how useful it is. We are also poor at keep these standards up to date, primarily because we think that we need appropriate senior management approval for any improvement.
We ask you therefore to consider the volumes of standards produced that lie unread on shelves and provide little to no assistance to those at the workface. Also the work involved in preparing for audits doing tasks that add no benefit to the "work."
In contrast there are companies who see the workforce as the customers of "management" (especially the Japanese) who succeed in ensuring that the standards are "led on a voluntary basis by the front line workforce"