The blurring definition of waste in a 4.0 world – Part 2 of 2 – Robotic Process Automation

In part 1 of this series I took the example of Additive Manufacturing vs. traditional machining to explain the blurring definition of (Lean) waste and value. In this post, I propose another take with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). With RPA, some tasks considered unnecessary and wasteful in the classic Lean point of view are automated … Continue reading The blurring definition of waste in a 4.0 world – Part 2 of 2 – Robotic Process Automation

The blurring definition of Lean waste in a 4.0 world – Part 1 of 2 – Additive Manufacturing

Until recently in the Lean community, the definition of waste was “simple”: waste is any activity consuming resources without producing value for the customer. In this definition time can be  considered a resource and “customer” is extended to anyone beneficiary of the outcome, like a patient in a hospital getting faster and better care. Focusing … Continue reading The blurring definition of Lean waste in a 4.0 world – Part 1 of 2 – Additive Manufacturing

Lean: Waste in office work – part 1

When Lean principles got popular and begun to spread out of the manufacturing shop floor, the original 7 types of waste were translated into their equivalent in office environment. Yet office work is less standardized than manufacturing, offering people more freedom to organize themselves. Compared to precisely prescribed execution and streamlined operations in manufacturing, synchronized … Continue reading Lean: Waste in office work – part 1

Why this lean obsession about waste?

Lean is about waste. Mainly about waste. Obsessive about waste. Wastes are activities that carry costs without adding any value. Reducing wastes is turning these expenses into savings. So far so good. Yet why doesn’t lean emphasize adding value instead? Adding value means adding or improving something that customers will value and will be ready … Continue reading Why this lean obsession about waste?

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to software “robots” that can be taught or programmed to mimic human actions like typing, copy-and-paste, open files, read files… do many tasks across programs and applications just as human workers do. It is especially suitable for tasks requiring no subjective judgement, that can be described simply. The RPA software … Continue reading What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?