When you consider that, where Value Stream Mapping is undertaken to analyse and understand the Value Streams and Processes of a Business, the time spent on activities that the Customer values (Value Added time), is generally found to be less than 5% of the total lead-time and, in a lot of cases, less than 2%. This means that the average Person, contracted to work 40 Hours per week, spends, on average, between only 48 to 120 minutes per week adding value, so a maximum of 2 Hours per week and, for every hour of overtime, therefore adds no more than 3 minutes to that figure. If we then take into account the loss of efficiency that excessive hours create and the story looks even bleaker.
However, there is an optimistic way of looking at this, in that a 10% relative improvement on the Value Added time, say from 120 minutes to 132 minutes per week, is the equivalent of 4 hours of overtime! So imagine that, if someone normally works 10 Hours of extra time per week, with a 25% relative increase in Value added time, from 5% to 6.25%, they can eradicate the need for overtime!
This may sound astonishing but it is quite common that, when Lean Thinking, and it's methodologies of Lean and Six Sigma, are applied, productivity may be improved by 25-35% or more, with continuous improvement, through Kaizen, established thereafter. This opportunity is very clear in a Transactional Environment, whether that be in a Manufacturing Production Line or a Transactional Office (such as a Call Centre or Financial Operations Centre), where the time available of the workers is constrained by set shift patterns and overtime is paid, making the cost to the business obvious. However, for the majority of 'knowledge workers' it is not directly visible due to the fact that overtime is usually both unpaid and unregistered, with extra hours just being something that people do to catch up and the business cost is only visible if we take the time to measure it in terms of higher attrition and absenteeism rates, disengagement and burn-outs.
It is therefore just as important, if not more so, to put in place countermeasures to the root causes of these issues, with a Management approach that:
By tackling the root causes of Work-Life Balance issues, an Organisation can drive higher Customer satisfaction, through improved service, and drive increased value through quality and productivity improvements, whilst reducing the burden on its most valuable asset, its People. By taking this kind of approach, we can stop focussing on Work-Life Balance and, instead, all live a Life in Balance.
There are many Lean Leadership Books out there but I have reviewed those that I think are of most use on my Book Recommendations page.
Follow Philip on Twitter:
"I aim to promote the global sharing of best practices in the application of Lean Thinking."