The most important type of savings provided by lean implementation? It’s not money, it’s not people.
Time is the ultimate non-renewable natural resource. Once a second has passed, it’s gone.
It’s also the most democratic of resources. Every day, every living person is provided with 86,400 seconds. The richest person in the world has just as much as the poorest person, and every day we are presented with the same amount, no more and no less. I am just as rich in time today as the Queen of England, running back Marion Barber, a mother in Somalia, a student in India, and a factory worker in China.
No amount of money can buy you additional time, and you can’t be born into wealth of time. Money can’t buy you more time, but it can buy you more people and their allotted time.
You can always find ways to get more money. You can always find ways to find more people. No one has the ability to generate time. If every day we are allotted with the same amount of seconds, minutes, and hours, we must find ways to use them better and more efficiently.
The more people you have on your staff or in your company, the more time you have available at your “disposal” and for progress. How do you best utilize that time? How do you use that time on value-adding activities and not on wasteful activities?
That is what lean can save you. Time.
Reducing wasteful activities means spending more time on value-adding activities for your customers.
Let’s say you have nine employees for eight hours per day – that means you’re paying for 10 people x 8 hours x 60 min/hr x 60 sec/min = 288,000 seconds. Do you want to spend that time (and those wages) on wasteful activities?
Here’s how easy it is to make sweeping changes with lean. If you can take all of the processes you and your nine employees perform during an eight-hour daily shift and can improve the efficiency of each person by 48 minutes of wasteful activities – less walking around, less waiting, less time spent on making products customers don’t need yet, etc – you can complete all of those same processes with just nine people and save one person.
However, you have that saved eight hours of employee time – instead of just reducing them, why not use them to grow your business and complete other processes that aren’t getting done? Have them sell for you. Use them to generate more business or work on other projects you couldn’t get to?
Time is the universal unit of currency. Everyone has time, everyone uses time. Why not use it better?