Monday, October 12, 2009

Muda Monday - 1st Waste at home - Transportation

Muda is the Japanese word for waste and I hope to illuminate how the waste of transportation, excess movement of items and people, can be reduced at home saving time, money, and effort. The Toyota Production system incorporates the continuous removal of waste as part of "lean" principles. Let's look at some examples of how the waste of transportation has played out in my home:
  • Driving multiple cars to the same location - this happens frequently when everyone in the family goes to the same spot at different times.

For example, if we use the 2009 AAA mileage rate for trips, here's what it cost for a forty mile round trip with our vehicles:

1 car (compact sedan at .55/mile) = $22

2 cars (2 compact sedans) = $44

3 cars (2 compact sedans & large vehicle at .86/mile) = $78.40

As you can see, taking 3 cars almost quadruples the costs of the trips. In addition, every car has empty space in it which is waste and contributes to the problem. As a countermeasure, we work together to synchronize schedules and use the highest mileage vehicles for the longest trips. Yesterday, we rode to church in one vehicle although we were going in different directions after service. We simply coordinated rides home with some friends and only needed one vehicle.

  • Going medium or long distances to get services or goods that are locally available.

We installed a fireplace insert in our home last year but we lacked wood to burn. I could drive a couple hours to get free wood from relatives or buy it locally. Instead, I decided to implement a countermeasure and first find all the free wood that was available within walking distance. There were unburned logs for an outdoor fire pit that I had in my yard, the neighbor across the street had sawed up an fallen tree, seven houses down was a large pile of logs that no one wanted, and two streets over was a massive stump with cut up sticks free for the taking. Not only did my fuel for the insert swell, but I did my neighbors and friends a service by removing flammable dead tree remnants. Needless to say, it's also been amazing to see how fast the wood added up while I was getting exercise and time outdoors.

  • Placing items at their point of use

For years, I couldn't get my kids to change a roll of toilet paper when the roll was empty. They would complain about having to go find the toilet paper in the basement or in a closet. In their own way, they identified the transport waste of having to go down two sets of stairs and move toilet paper up to the bathrooms. As a result, we moved multiple rolls into the bathrooms and stock them on the plungers and hid them in the corner. Now, re-stocking the rolls takes seconds most of the time and the refresh rate for new toilet paper is much better.

These are but a few examples of transportation waste in the home. Please consider what transportation you do such a errands, trips, moving items in the home, etc. When it comes to the muda of excessive transportation, there is no end to all the ways at home that waste can be eliminated...and just watch the benefits add up.

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

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