Reducing Muda to Impact Your Bottom Line

Peter Jobst, DevOps Consultant and Author
04/07/2016, 03:45pm

"A penny earned is a penny saved"

Benjamin Franklin


As I sat here writing this article, I wondered if the action was an exercise in Muda. As a DevOps productivity expert, I am always concerned about how to reduce waste and become more efficient. In this instance, sharing this information with the community is vital.  Muda can be a challenging subject, because it involves changing old behaviors and replacing them with newer and more efficient ones. 

Although a smart choice, made by the most savvy of businesses, it’s not always easy to let go of habitual waste. The first step is to recognize it. In the past, companies valued hard work, long hours and taking on a mountain of challenging tasks. The new model is to work smarter. The first step to look for areas of wasted effort.

The literal translation of Muda in Japanese is futility, uselessness, or waste. My goal, as a Devops guy, is to combat Muda by reducing all non-value add actions. For the sake of efficiency, I use a checklist and look for the seven Mudas, or wastes:

1.   Overproduction - Do the employees have more tasks than they can handle?

2.   Waiting - Are employees waiting for a response from the customer or another activity to happen before they can act?

3.   Transportation - Are large transfers (as opposed to smaller, more regular transfers) of data continually happening?

4.   Inappropriate processing - Are you using a sledgehammer to kill an ant? Or do your employees have the right tool for the right job?

5.   Unnecessary Inventory - WIP or Work in Progress is an example of unnecessary inventory. Are your programmers able to execute tasks in a timely manner on the fly? Or do they have to wait two weeks to make a five minute fix?

6.   Unnecessary / Excess Motion - In Devops, often less is more. Are you taking the time to write code, or a script, that automates redundant activities? Or are your employees spending hours every week doing the same task over and over again?

7.   Defects - Are your programmers putting broken code into your systems, creating a technical debt?

8.   Underutilizing employees creativity and talent - It is inevitable that the employees who do the tasks every day, will come up with solutions to recurring problems. Does the Company use this, and get them involved and let them solve problems?


If you just read through this checklist and you want to recoup the time you’re losing on a weekly basis, Jobst can help you use Muda to remove waste and streamline efficiency, thus saving you time and money. 



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