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BROWNLEE: Tracing your costly business DOWNTIME

Downtime might sound heavenly for a small business owner who hasn’t had a vacation in 2 years, but DOWNTIME is a lean six sigma acronym for eight business wastes that may be costing you money.

Wastes are non-value added activities, services, products or add-ons that your customers are not willing to pay for.

This is associated with the manufacturing industry but it also applies to service based businesses.

Waste equals lost profits so let’s take a look at how it can affect an office, restaurant and health care.

Defects are mistakes, errors, omissions and inaccuracies.

Office: Submitting a report with missing signatures.

Restaurant: Making a coffee with milk when the customer requested soy.

Health care: Incorrectly filed claims.

Overproduction is literally producing more than is needed.

Office: Generating reports that no one uses.

Restaurant: Prepping more food than can be used in one day.

Health care: Drawing too many samples or ordering unnecessary tests.

Waiting are delays caused by defects, shortages, missing information and slow process times.

Office: Orders that are waiting for a sign off or a job delay while waiting for approval.

Restaurant: Customers that are waiting for their orders or wait staff waiting on cooks.

Health care: Waiting for a doctor, lab procedures or lab results.

Non-Utilized Talent are un-used or under-utilized people in the business.

Office: Not having the right people in the right positions or lack of cross training.

Restaurant: Only allowing a few employees to learn how to operate the POS system.

Health care: Ignoring suggestions and not listening to the front-line employees.

Transportation is the unnecessary movement of materials, products or documents.

Office: Sending redundant or irrelevant emails between departments.

Restaurant: Receiving orders throughout the day rather than at designated times.

Health care: Moving patients for testing, treatments, supplies or documents.

Inventory includes materials or supplies in excess of what is needed for a particular time.

Office: Keeping several jobs open without completing any or hording supplies.

Restaurant: Buying a year’s worth of paper products when next day delivery is available.

Health care: Excess pharmacy stock, lab supplies or clinical supplies.

Motion is excess human movement.

Office: Searching in several different places for information to complete a task.

Restaurant: Frequent trips to the stockroom.

Health care: Searching for charts, supplies, equipment or instruments.

Excess Processing is effort that doesn’t add value to the product or service in the eyes of the customer.

Office: Entering the same data into multiple systems or forms.

Restaurant: Using unnecessary or over-priced ingredients relative to your menu pricing.

Health care: Paperwork, unnecessary steps or re-testing.

 

This is just a small sampling of how DOWNTIME can be affecting your business operations and bottom line profits.

The Small Business Development Center offers free consulting services to small business owners and is available to analyze your business DOWNTIME and help you create a strategy and processes to eliminate the waste in your business and increase profits.

 

Becky Brownlee, MBA is a business consultant with the SBDC and is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. You can reach her at rbrownlee@georgiasbdc.org or 912-651-3200.

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