Extra WIP

In many organizations we do have WIP that is necessary for stable process in addition to extra WIP. Why do we have extra WIP? Because we love to have it, we make it, we are glad it hides our problems, and we are not trying to reduce it.  Extra WIP is not there by mistake. No, we made it.This extra WIP is so easy to be removed because it does not need modifications in the process. If we decide to decrease it we can…it is just extra. The other part which is the colored in black may need effort to be reduced. So, you can just start with that big part of extra WIP.

Examples for extra WIP sources:

  • We are producing large batches of the same product although we can produce several products without affecting the productivity. We just got used to it. There is no technical problem that prevents us from producing variety of products.
  • We are a service company and we assign small number of customer service until it is very crowded then we add more employees. We allowed WIP to exist and then we are trying to reduce it.
  • We are a service company and we allow more people than we can service in our service place. There is no reason for allowing more people than our capacity.
  • We are not trying to match the speed of production of upstream with downstream. We are just happy producing in the upstream.
  • We are allowing documents to pile at our desks although we can check them frequently and send them to concerned persons.
  • We are service company and we are doing nothing to encourage people to visit us at certain times when we have less load.

We can remove extra WIP easily if we really want to. We and our customers will be happier if we do.


Gains from Quality Control Circles

Quality Control Circles (QCC) are teams of operators (technicians) who work voluntarily to solve complex work problem using quality tools. QCC is not easy to implement as it consumes time in training, follow up, and preparation for the QCC conference. QCC leads to the following gains:

  • Development of the operators including:
    • analytical thinking
    • observing and gathering data
    • brainstorming (Cause and Effect Diagram)
    • solving the major cause before the minor ones (Pareto Analysis)
    • working in teams
    • comparing solutions
    • Planning for execution
    • evaluating results
    • presenting QCC story
  • Encouraging operators to think and solve problems
  • Great motivation to operators
  • Solving problems

You can feel those gains when you work with operators and help them work successfully on their QCCs. You will see excitement in their eyes, you will be surprised by their brilliant ideas, you will see results in the workplace, and you will enjoy changing a good part of their lives.

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Less waiting time


Creating Muda

How to lose your team?

No problem…It is so easy to lose your team. Try one of the following:

  • Hide schedule
  • Hide documents
  • Show them that you are better than them
  • Do not appreciate their efforts
  • Use their effort to get appreciation for yourself
  • Ignore their suggestions
  • Ignore their personal problems
  • Give them orders only
  • Do not hold meetings to discuss
  • When you have to hold a meeting, keep talking
  • If you want to let them talk, then look in your mobile phone
  • Never say we. Say “I” for achievement and “you” for instructions
  • Do not share future vision with them
  • If someone make an error, get nervous and show everyone that you do not respect him
  • Show them that you like some of them and hate the others
  • Never show them their progress
  • If you have a meeting with your team, arrive very late with reason

It is so easy to lose your team. Never do that.

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Erroneous management conclusions

Do not forget your objective…

It is obvious that when you have an objective that you are not supposed to forget it; however, in many cases people do forget their objectives. Example:

  • A service provider who wants to enjoy showing the customer how knowledgeable he is rather than serving the customer in short time
  • An organization which is successful by offering lower cost product gets in love with the new technology which will not add value to the customer but will raise the cost
  • A planning manager who make plans to make the work easier for employees rather than best serve customers
  • An auditor or control manager who wants to hide his colleagues mistakes
  • A lean practitioner who get trapped in 5S and forget that the goal was waste elimination
  • A manager who wants to produce more regardless of demand
  • A manager who is proud that a new software or new process has been implemented because it is doing the function without measuring the performance
  • A manager who is very focused on employees satisfaction and forgets shareholders satisfaction
  • An employee who is doing favors for his colleagues rather than doing his job
  • A person who uses social networks to share personal information he usually does not like to share in real life
  • A presenter who focuses on preparing good power-point slide and does not prepare his speech

Always ask yourself about your specific objective and never forget it. Do things that help you achieve your objectives. Do no let technology, sympathy, curiosity, personal interests, …etc. drift you away from your objective.

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Challenges for Strategic Planning in Developing Countries

Why do I like Continuous Improvement?

I really like Continuous Improvement. Why? Let me tell you:

  • it makes people excited everyday
  • it is gradual, so, resistance for change is low
  • it comes from working people themselves, so, they will not resist it
  • people love it
  • people energy is high and continuous improvement opens the door for that huge energy
  • it does not cost much
  • you get people’s mind for free and that makes you get their hearts as well
  • it generates great simple ideas
  • it is a great work environment
  • it enhances team spirit
  • it makes people love their work place because that is where they make achievements
  • it generates great results
  • it is not difficult
  • it is not easy to copy by competitors

Try it.

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Gains from Quality Control Circles

Increasing WIP, increases Chaos


Creating MUDA

MUDA is a Japanese word which means waste. Lean practitioners used to use the word Muda when talking about waste. In Lean culture, we try to identify then reduce or if possible eliminate Muda. There are seven types of Muda as classified by Toyota Production System founders. Those seven types are: motion, transportation, rejection, inventory, waiting, over processing, and overproduction.

However, sometimes we not only ignore Muda but we actually create Muda and then try to work very hard to be successful with the existence of this Muda.


  • Bad education system results in graduates that does not accept team work, does not accept transparency, does not know how to work for  a team goal, does not believe that standardization is good, does not think that organized and clean workplace is prerequisite to successful organization, and does not have many essential skills for his profession. This can be classified as Muda of rejection where the product of the education system does not match the specifications. What happens? We re-educate people at companies and organizations on those basic skills and behavior. So, we created the Muda and then trying to live with it.
  • A violation of the rules of a business process results in the manager changing the process so that there are many approvals,  more paper work, and less flexibility. Another violation will be followed by more approvals, more paper work and less flexibility. The end result is a very slow process, dissatisfied customer, and more employees to do the Muda paper work. If we care about the customer we would spend money on marketing. So, we created the Muda and are trying to live with it. If a process violation was dealt with in a firm way, then no one else would violate the process and we would not have to change he process itself.
  • Someone has some information that other people in the organization needs but he does not want to spend few minutes to make these data available to everyone. For examples, HR procedures, service procedures in the organization, Maintenance or shipping dates. Then he work hard to finish his daily work because he/she receives too many calls everyday about the procedure or the data. She/he created Muda then are suffering t live with it.
  • A service provider asks for original documents from the customer. Later, they  request the same document for another transaction. They then suffer from the amount of documents they have to keep. They created Muda and then are trying to live with it.
  • A manager does not want to delegate any decisions to his subordinates. Then he is very busy because he has to take care of everything. He created the Muda and he is suffering from it.
  • An IT manager is developing a sophisticated software that is not needed and then his team os too busy and everyone is compaining that they do not do his requests. He created a Muda and is making his team and internal customers suffer from it.

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Why do I like Continuous Improvement?

Less waiting time


Why should you learn Marketing?

You are not a marketer and you have never been part of marketing or selling team but let me tell you that you need to learn marketing. You may think that it is not related to your work but actually it is. Everyone needs marketing by one way or another. For example:

  • When the manager decides to implement new work methods he needs to market this idea. He needs to study his product (new work methods), know the needs of his customers (employees, share holders, and customers), and know the promotion tools. He may need to segment his customers to know which segment will accept/reject his new methods and how to convince them.
  • When an employee get an idea, he needs to market it to his managers. He needs to understand the forces in the market (organization). He needs to know the buying behavior (who takes the decision, who influences the decision maker, and who will be affected by his idea).
  • If you have a very small business such as grocery store, I suggest you learn marketing. You need to know how customers evaluate grocery stores in your area. You need to know the time they buy specific items. You need to know what offers attracts them. You need to know what products they like/dislike. You need to what promotion tool works with them.
  • When an IT engineers develop a web application he needs to understand the real needs of his customers and he needs to know what makes them use this application or reject it.
  • When you want to write a memo, you need to know the content that will allow you to sell your opinion or your request. You should understand your customers (receiver of the memo). You should know what words and style will affect their perception of you and your message.
  • If you are working on a production line and you come in contact with any customer, you should know that the next step process is your customer. You should learn some marketing to know how to satisfy his needs.
  • If you do shopping, you need to know how marketers try to affect your decision.
  • If you want to encourage others to participate in volunteer work, you need to know how to promote the idea.
  • If you are doing internal service in an organization, you need to know your customer needs and try to fulfill them.
  • If you are an HR specialist/manager and you think that you are the last one to learn marketing, let me tell you that you need to understand your customers (employees) and understand their needs. You need to know what words irritate them and what words has a certain perception for them.

Marketing teaches you that you should know your specific customer and how to know his needs. Marketing tells you how to specify your price. It tells you how to promote your product. It tells you how an where to sell your product. Your product may be your decision, your idea, your web application, your memo, your project, or your volunteer organization. Your price may be the reward you offer others for doing something such as: Biscuits, cup of tea, money, product, day off, salary raise, recognition, knowledge, happiness, social life, or an opportunity to do something. Your promotion tools may be your phone call with your colleague, or your chat with someone in corridor, or your formal memo, or your speech in a conference, or your email to subordinates or managers. Your marketing research tools may be a meeting, internal surveys, interviews, informal talk with subordinates/managers, or statistics.

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What the customer really needs?