Blog | Consulting, Intelligent Automation

9 Lean measures to improve efficiency

Sep 14, 2016 | 2 min read

In this blog from our Lean Methodology Series, we explore 9 ways you can measure improvements in efficiency.

Learn more about our consultation services that fuse people, technology, and performance to create harmonious, human+ workforces, or read on to discover 9 measurements to improve efficiency you can use now.

1. PROCESS CYCLE TIME

This is a measure from the time when an item enters the process until it exits the process. By measuring Process Cycle Time, you can evaluate opportunities to reduce the time it takes to complete a process and improve consistency amongst staff performance.

2. WORK-IN-PROCESS (WIP)

This is the amount of work that is officially in the process and is not completed. Too much WIP leads to backlogs and poor service levels, not enough WIP and your process may not be exploiting the maximum process efficiency.

3. TAKT TIME

This is the customer demand rate, often called the heartbeat of the process. It boils down to this – the time needed to complete work on each station has to be less than the Takt time for the product or service to be completed within the allotted time.

4. CAPACITY

This is the maximum amount of output a process can deliver over a continuous period. It includes the resources required to meet a certain level of demand. Overcapacity is waste, undercapacity can result in lost business.

5. TIME TRAPS

Any process step or activity that creates a time delay in the process. This is also known as ‘Waiting’ waste. These should be evaluated to determine the opportunity for removal.

6. PRODUCTIVITY

This is the time it should have taken to complete processes divided by the time taken to complete processes. 100% productivity is when the time taken matches the time it should take.

7. AVERAGE COMPLETION RATE (THROUGHPUT)

The average output of the process over a defined period. This helps inform what your capacity is and ideally this should be as consistent as possible between different colleagues completing the same work. In a call center, this could be Average Handle Time.

8. PROCESS CYCLE EFFICIENCY (PCE)

PCE measures how efficiently the process converts WIP into completed work. You measure the time it takes WIP to go through the process.

9. SHRINKAGE/LOST WORKER TIME

This is the time lost to everything other than the work they are here to complete. It’s a measure of time lost to holidays, training, meetings, sickness, breaks, system downtime and more. This is the percentage of increased staffing you require over and above your core demand needs. Effective Shrinkage/Lost Worker Time management can deliver one of the greatest efficiency benefits.

Our 9 measures to improve efficiency are not an exhaustive list by any means, but a good starting point if you are tasked with improving efficiency in your organization.

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