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Looking for Lean in Inefficient Processes

first-class forever stampThis morning, I wrote a physical check and placed it into a physical envelope. I hand-wrote the addresses on the envelope and even put a physical stamp on it.  I will mail it, when I take my semiweekly trip to the mailbox.  This is the first time I can remember doing this in a few years.  The party recieving my payment is forcing me to follow this inefficient business process of mailing a physical payment to them.  All I can think is how this used to be the norm and now how ridiculously inefficient it appears.

When objectively judging the efficiency of this process, I started by first measuring two things, the Work-in-Process (WIP) and the Average Completion Rate (ACR).

Little’s Law

This law provides an equation for relating Lead Time, Work-in-Process (WIP) and Average Completion Rate (ACR) to any process. The law states: Lead Time = WIP (units) / ACR (units per time period).  The idea is to have the lowest lead time as possible.  Lower lead times means less waste.

Am I the only geek out there who does this?  Where do you see inefficient processes that could benefit from a more lean approach?

 

 

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of ALM Platforms at LeadingAgile. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon). Novice angel investor.

2 Responses to “Looking for Lean in Inefficient Processes”

  1. Jasonnerothin
    October 11, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Laundry: extraction sort. Means none of my clothes get put away until they’re all dirty again. But it’s maximally efficient.

    • Anonymous
      October 11, 2011 at 7:55 am

      Is the considered the economy of scale?

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