Return to Productivity & Waste

Waste A% – Resource non-availability

  • Significant waste can arise because a resource that has cost money is not available for work, not used when at work, or operates inefficiently when in productive use

  • Possible reasons for a resource not being available for productive use include:

  • The cost of a resource being unavailable for work can be disproportionately high viz:

    • A key team member goes absent, delaying any work by the rest of the team until he or she returns e.g. the surgeon heading an operating team

    • Regular absenteeism by team members, a sign of low morale, puts more pressure on team-mates or more staff/ overtime having to be employed if customer demand is to be met

    • A key component is out of stock, stopping all work further down the line

    • A key piece of equipment or a computer system breaks down, stopping all services until it’s repaired

    • A hospital operating theatre closes every night, over weekends and on bank holidays, causing many patients to suffer for longer

  • There’s a limit to availability percentages, however – 100% is impossible to achieve:

    • People need holidays and inevitably some will fall ill – they also need ‘rest-breaks’ throughout their working day, especially to refresh grey cells

    • Suppliers will not always be able to deliver exactly on time

    • Customer demand will fluctuate and sometimes cause even the best stock control systems to suffer stock-outs

    • Machines will break down unexpectedly and need regular ‘planned maintenance’ stops

    • Hospital beds cannot be made available 100% of the time – downtime is needed for vital cleaning and changing of sheets – otherwise the risk of cross-infections is greatly increased

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