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The 3 Lean Buckets

January 11, 20242 min read

The 3 Lean Buckets

If you’re looking for a way to grow your business and increase operational efficiency, then Lean practices might just be the solution you've been seeking.

At the core of Lean is the elimination of waste. And here's the beautiful part:

The 3 Lean Buckets

By cutting waste, you not only reduce costs but also unlock additional capacity.

Simply put, Lean creates a dual benefit for your business.

Consider this scenario: 

Let's say it takes eight hours for your business to fulfil an order. By applying Lean methods, you eliminate inefficiencies. And now, you can fulfil that same order in just four hours. This means you cut costs by utilising four hours of labour instead of eight, and you gain an extra four hours of available capacity.

Now, if your constraint is in sales, this newfound capacity is an opportunity to process more orders and increase revenue.

It's a win-win situation!

To effectively implement Lean, you must first categorise your activities into three buckets:

1 - Value-Adding

These are tasks directly related to delivering the service or product your customer pays for.

2 - Business Requirements

These activities are necessary to run your business but don't directly impact the customer.

3 - Pure Waste

These are activities that add no value, like mistakes, errors or inefficiencies.

Let me give you a few examples to get a better grasp on these categories: In a cafe, value-adding activities include preparing the product you sell. Business requirements might involve working on the next week's roster. Pure waste includes errors or spills, things that shouldn't happen.

As for a professional service like tax preparation, the value-add is creating the client’s tax return. Business requirements could be marketing or planning, and pure waste would be errors or inefficiencies.

In commercial cleaning, the value-add is the cleaning itself. Business requirements might be planning and scheduling, and pure waste would be anything taking away from the core cleaning activity.

Now that you know how to categorise the tasks in your business, it’s time to get Lean.

Then, double your benefits by reducing costs and unlocking growth!

David Guest

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