In general, researchers have commonly included defects and excess processing as some of the more common factors considered as waste (Senaratne & Wijesiri, 2008). Additionally, other factors have been mentioned in specific industries to broaden this classification.
For instance, researchers have suggested “a broader definition of waste to include not only material waste, but also waste generated in a construction project such as waiting times, transportation times…” (Hosseini, Nikakhtar, Wong, & Zavichi, 2012, p. 415). The lean approach for the elimination of waste, as described by Ohno (1988), is as follows: “All we are doing is looking at the time line, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect cash. And we are reducing that time line by removing the non-value-added wastes” (p. 9). The definition of waste as well as its classification has been approached by various researchers. The lean approach towards construction adopts both physical and non-physical waste production. On the basis of the existing literature, waste in the context of construction can be classified into eight types, namely defects, overproduction, waiting, not-utilizing talent, transportation, inventory excess, motion waste, and excess processing.
Not utilizing talent is one of the waste described in the lean manufacturing process. It involves the waste associated with creativity and talent of the individual employees working in the factory (Jimmerson, Weber, & Sobek, 2005). The waste of talent is associated with insufficient management of employee talent and creativity. In any production facility, especially with managing the consistency and introducing improvement over time, the most important resource is employees (El-Namrouty, 2013). Thus, the waste associated with talent is one of the most important waste that may hinder the production process. The lack of loyalty or involvement from every employee within an organization can cause a company competitive failure (Senaratne & Wijesiri, 2008). On the contrary, the involvement of all the employees working within a factory can provide an organization with a competitive edge. Especially due to the highly competitive marketplace resulting from globalization, it is important for organizations to utilize the collaborative advantage provided by the involvement of talent to continue and improve their presence.
The most important consequence of the waste of inefficient utilization of talent in a factory is related to the inability to satisfy the need of the clients and make necessary improvements. Researchers have noted that dependence only on managers for ideas may have a negative influence on the creativity of a factory due to the fact that there are a limited number of managers and supervisors in an organizations compared to other employees, whose input may lead to greater insights (Mezgebe, Asgedom, & Desta, 2013). Organizations that are not able to utilize the talent and creativity of their employees may lose a significant competitive advantage over their competitors (Gupta & Jain, 2013). For instance, organizations that are able to make use of the ideas of all their employees may become better at improving their service and may gain a competitive advantage over organizations that do not make use of the ideas of all their employees.
Researchers have suggested various causes that may hinder an organization’s ability to fully utilize the talent of its employees. Organizations may actively seek to limit the improvement and development of their employees due to the belief that highly talented employees may seek better positions in other organizations or expect better compensation (Hosseini, Nikakhtar, Wong, & Zavichi, 2012). One of the major causes in this regard has been identified as the culture of an organization. Organizations that are not able to recognize and reward the contribution and power of their employees suffer from waste resulting from insufficient utilization of talent. Organizations that adopt a traditional approach where they assign specific works to specific employees, including the contribution of ideas, fail to create an organizational environment that promotes the efficient utilization of talent (Senaratne & Wijesiri, 2008). On the contrary, organizations that seek to reward employees for their individual contributions may not be able to allocate sufficient resources and time in the process that could result in the development of employees that could enable them to make sufficient contributions. Organizations that employee strategies that reward counter-productive behavior or that function with higher levels of bureaucracy may often have inappropriate policies that hinder improvements among employees.
Researchers have suggested that providing leadership and training to employees is an important part of eliminating the waste resulting from non-utilization of talent. Organizations that seek to provide compensation that are appropriate to the contribution made by the employees can benefit from the full utilization of talent (El-Namrouty, 2013). Team work is an essential element. Organizations may benefit from promoting employees to adopt ownership of their products and processes to increase involvement and pride.
Author: Henri Suissa
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