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4 Functions Of Management

Understanding The 4 Key Functions Of Management


“The purpose of all managers is to achieve results with and through the activities of other people in the most effective and efficient way possible”.

To be successful and remain competitive in today’s dynamic global environment, every organisation needs effective managers.

Managers achieve organisational goals and objectives with and through the people who make up the organisation. To accomplish these goals effectively and efficiently, managers perform four key functions:

Planning > Organising > Leading  > Controlling


1. Planning - 4 Functions Of Management1. Planning

Planning is the first of the four management functions. Planning defines and determines the strategic, tactical and operational goals of an organisation, department or team. Deciding future direction is an activity that is basic to management functions.

Determining your team or department’s goals, how and when they will be achieved and what resources will be allocated to them are key aspects of the planning you undertake as a successful manager.

Continuously developing your planning skills will significantly contribute to higher performance at a personal and organisational level.

2. Organising - 4 Functions Of Management2. Organising

The organising function is centred on the acquisition and deployment of resources to achieve operational goals.

Organising determines an organisation’s division of labour into specific departments and teams as well as what tasks are to be done, who is going to do them and how they will be grouped. Organising also encompasses deciding the formal chain of command, operational processes, reporting structures and decision- making authority that will be used.

To ensure continued competitiveness, as a manager you are expected to use your organising skills to restructure and maintain a leaner, more efficient and more productive department or team. You are expected to place the right people with the right skills in the right roles at the right time to achieve maximum productivity and performance.

3. Leading3. Leading

Leading is the ability to influence and inspire people to achieve organisational goals because they want to, not because they have to.

Leadership creates and determines the culture and values of an organisation, department or team. Quality leadership is also an integral component in creating and maintaining a high-performance work environment.

In today’s ever-changing workplace, providing the right type of leadership at the right time has become an increasingly important management function. Successful leadership today combines the authority of title – Positional Power, with the leaders own Personal Power, which is based on the respect and trust earned from those they lead.

Your leadership is essential in communicating the organisation’s vision, mission, values and goals to provide clear direction to all involved. It is only through exercising strong leadership that you will effectively harness and utilise the best resources at your disposal – your people.

4. Controlling - 4 Functions Of Management4. Controlling

Controlling is the last but not least of the four key management functions. Controlling involves the continuous monitoring of actual performance against planned performance.

This function entails the constant and systematic monitoring and regulating of organisational activities and processes to ensure they are consistent with predetermined goals, plans and key performance indicators.

As the manager of a high-performance work environment you are expected to set in place systems and processes that establish required standards of performance, measure the actual performance, compare it with the pre-set standards and initiate Gap Resolution actions when and if required.

Become a highly effective and respected leader

Whether you’re an experienced leader or aspiring to become one, there are steps you can take to grow your skills, knowledge and capacity to motivate and inspire. LMA offers a range of short courses and in-depth development programs that support your key people to excel in this arena, effectively unlocking the potential of your entire team.

Explore our Leadership & Management Courses today, and see our upcoming course dates and locations in our current course schedule.


4 Functions Of Management Infographic

Putting The Spotlight On Leadership Competencies

Are we getting what we want (or need) from our leaders?

Latest results from more than 10,000 respondents to the Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey conducted by Leadership Management Australia (LMA) put the spotlight squarely on the most important leadership skills and competencies we expect to see in our leaders.

“You can’t always get what you want,
but if you try sometimes, you just might find,
you get what you need…”
You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Rolling Stones (1969)

It seems we know what we want, but as the song goes, we can’t always get it. Many of our organisational leaders are behaving in ways that are misaligned with what is expected of them or needed from them by the people they seek to lead.

Leadership competencies

The recipe for effective leadership is reasonably simple to follow. People working at all levels of organisations have a succinct and focused set of expectations that leaders can fulfil – if they put their minds to it. The main focus of leadership competencies and skills expected of our leaders relate to communication, problem-solving and decision-making and developing and coaching others.

The rankings of the leadership competencies thought to most clearly enable leaders and senior managers to do their jobs well are understood across all levels.

Despite some variation across the levels, the same top 7 out of the 16 competencies listed are reported as the keys to effective leadership:

Leadership competencies Employees
Communication skills 1 1 1
Problem solving and decision making 2 3 5
Developing and coaching others 3 2 2
Teamwork 4 5 6
Planning and organising 5 4 7
Building relationships (internal and external) 6 6 4
Strategic thinking 7 7 3
Q. All
Looking at this list of leadership competencies, please nominate which you believe are the five most critical competencies that leaders and senior managers need to do their job well today.

 Whilst strategic thinking features more prominently in the minds of Leaders and problem solving and decision making are higher on the list for Employees and Managers, the reality is a common set of expectations of the leadership skills and competencies needed to perform well as a leader.

Leadership behaviours

New Manager Leading a Team

When we look at how these skills and competencies become evident in the behaviours of our leaders, there is generally solid alignment – many of the expected leadership skills and competencies are obvious in the behaviours exhibited.

For example

The skill of problem solving is high on the list for competencies expected in our leaders and also features in the behaviours demonstrated by Leaders as seen by Managers and Employees.

However, there are also some clear gaps between the ways in which Leaders believe they behave and what their Managers and Employees see.

For example

Where Leaders believe their most clearly demonstrated leadership behaviour is motivating and bringing out the best in others, Employees rank this 13th and Managers 11th in terms of behaviours displayed by their leaders.

Employees and Manager see their Leaders operating with a strong results orientation more than any other behaviour suggesting that their Leaders’ motivations (and the resulting behaviours) are heavily skewed towards results more than the people who enable those results.

Two important behaviours witnessed by Employee and Managers from their Leaders are being supportive and remaining composed and confident in uncertainty – very important when many organisations are facing increasing volatility and uncertain economic times.

Clearly there is a need to align the desired or expected leadership skills and competencies and their practical demonstration through the leadership behaviours we see from our leaders. This will enable us to get both what we want AND what we need.

Leadership behaviours Leaders (about themselves)
Managers (about their leaders)
Employees (about their leaders)
Motivating and bringing out the best in others 1 11 13
Developing others 2 5 7
Solving problems effectively 3 4 4
Being supportive 4 2 2
Operating with a strong results orientation 5 1 1
Role modelling organisational values 6 9 12
Making quality decisions 7 10 9
Remaining composed and confident in uncertainty 8 3 3
Q. Leaders
Looking at the list of leadership behaviours below, please identify the FIVE behaviours you exhibit most as a leader/senior manager of your organisation
Q. Managers and Employees 
Looking at the list of leadership behaviours below, please identify the FIVE behaviours you see most from the leaders/senior managers in your organisation

Clearly there is a need to align the desired or expected leadership skills and competencies and their practical demonstration through the leadership behaviours we see from our leaders. This will enable us to get both what we want AND what we need.

Strategic importance of leadership development

In light of this clear need to align the necessary and expected leadership skills and competencies with their demonstration via leadership behaviours, the strategic importance of leadership development has never been more pronounced.

More than seven-in-ten across all levels of organisations recognise leadership development as either the most important (14-19%) or one of the top few strategic challenges (58-63%) facing their organisations’ future:

  Leaders (Executives/Senior Managers) 2019
Managers (Middle Managers and Supervisors) 2019
Employees (Non-Managerial/ Supervisory Employees) 2019
The most important strategic challenge for my organisation 19 15 14
One of the top few strategic challenges for my organisation 63 58 58
Just below the top few strategic challenges for my organisation 14 17 16
Not an important strategic challenge for my organisation 3 4 4
Q. Which of the following best describes how strategically important leadership development is for your organisation’s future?

Reassuring is the fact that 82% of Leaders recognise the strategic importance of leadership development – a clear nod to the need to devote time, money and resources to develop tomorrow’s leaders.

So what does this mean for our leaders?

Leaders and senior managers need to remain vigilant in developing their leadership skills and competencies and consistent in demonstrating the desirable leadership behaviours.

By regularly thinking about and acting in accordance with the expectations of their people, leaders will demonstrate what leadership is about and greatly assist in developing quality leadership and quality leaders for the future.

Given the critical importance of leadership development to the future of our organisations, leaders owe it to the next generation of leaders to lead well, be the example these emerging leaders can and will follow and help others to learn how to lead better in future – to be both what they want AND what they need.

Become a highly effective and respected leader

Whether you’re an experienced leader or aspiring to become one, there are steps you can take to grow your skills, knowledge and capacity to motivate and inspire. LMA offers a range of short courses and in-depth development programs that support your key people to excel in this arena, effectively unlocking the potential of your entire team.

Explore our Leadership & Management Courses today, and see our upcoming course dates and locations in our current course schedule.

Are you a manager or a leader

Are you a Manager or a Leader… What’s the difference?

Over recent years there’s been an abundance of articles highlighting the differences between Managers and Leaders.

Many of these articles compare the characteristics of Managers against those of Leaders, as if they were entirely different and separate roles, usually characterising them at totally opposite ends of the personality spectrum.


Managers are often portrayed as the Black Hats – focused on results and numbers-driven by processes and systems, whilst showing little empathy, care or consideration for their people.


Leaders, on the other hand, are often portrayed as the White Hats – charismatic and innovative change agents who engage and inspire others through displaying care and consideration.

What’s the difference?

The reality is that these are not two distinct roles. Nor are they opposites.

Management and Leadership are inseparable in today’s organisations. Those in Management/Leadership positions must incorporate the qualities and characteristics of both Manager and Leader in their roles. They go hand in hand.

Nor is it a situation of just Black or white. It’s more like 50 Shades of Grey when it comes to the level and mix of Management capabilities with Leadership competencies and characteristics required today.

The traditional model of management, in which leadership was considered one of the 4 functions of management, has evolved over the last 50 year.

4 Functions Of Management



In the world, the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s most management structures were more hierarchical with more layers of command. Managers’ roles generally, concentrated on producing outputs according to standard processes as efficiently and effectively as possible. During this time, employees held greater respect for the authority vested in the position of a supervisor or manager (Positional Power). Generally, there was also a higher regard for a manager’s age and experience.


continuous improvement

In today’s fast-moving world, the “Status Quo” is extinct. Continuous improvement, innovation, agility are the focus and nature of our competitive business world today.

People now challenge the status quo of titles, authority, age and experience. A title or position is no longer sufficient to ensure they can achieve the best results out of people. Employees today judge their managers and leaders on their actions, attitudes, behaviours and leadership competencies. 

To perform effectively in a Management / Leadership role in organisations today, people require a much higher degree of leadership than in the past. But they must also have capabilities in the other 3 areas of management.

Where Your Authority Comes From

As a supervisor or manager, your authority is derived from your position in the organisation. This is your Positional Power. You have been appointed to represent management to those for whom you are responsible.

Your team’s knowledge of the organisation’s vision, values, goals and expectations come through you. Your position gives you the authority and the responsibility to make decisions and to allocate resources to reach the team’s quality and productivity objectives and goals.

Exercise Your Authority Effectively

Effective Management

How you exercise the authority of your position determines the results you are able to achieve. Those who take an authoritarian or command approach, purely using their Positional Power, achieve limited results from their people.

However, exercising true leadership is moving beyond the Positional Power of your title into developing your Personal Power through earning the respect and trust of those you manage.

Managers who understand that they must develop their Personal Power in order to more effectively exercise their Positional Power, are the successful leaders of today and the future.

Their ability to lead, direct, engage and influence the behaviour of others is based on their ability to earn the respect and trust of others. Yes, they still focus on outcomes and still demonstrate skill in planning, organizing and controlling.

Leadership goes beyond and enhances management. Genuine leadership involves gaining engagement and commitment from those you manage, so they, like you, understand and willingly play their part in the overall purpose and success of the organisation.

Leadership involves the ability to communicate, to enable and to empower people to take meaningful and productive actions. Leadership is creating exceptional results for and through people.


So, in summary, you are both a Manager and a Leader with the power to exercise and develop both your Management capabilities and Leadership competencies.

Become a highly effective and respected leader

Whether you’re an experienced leader or aspiring to become one, there are steps you can take to grow your skills, knowledge and capacity to motivate and inspire. LMA offers a range of short courses and in-depth development programs that support your key people to excel in this arena, effectively unlocking the potential of your entire team.

Explore our Leadership & Management Courses today, and see our upcoming course dates and locations in our current course schedule.

Continuously Improve in 2019

At this time of year, we all tend to reflect on the year that was and also start thinking about the year ahead.  As you consider 2019, what you would like to achieve and the changes you would like to make, please realise that you have the power to determine and control the outcomes and results for the year.

Our theme for the first quarter 2019 is Continuous Improvement:-  Continuous Improvement in your personal and professional development as an individual and Continuous Improvement in your leadership skills and workplace results.

Individual Continuous Improvement for Success in 2019

Consider this definition of success. 

“Success is the progressive realisation of predetermined, worthwhile, personal goals”  – Paul J Meyer

Most of our readers will have seen and heard this definition before.  In 2019, set new, challenging and worthwhile goals in all six areas of life using the Total Person Concept you were introduced to in your LMA program.  Break these goals down into action steps with realistic deadlines.  Make these goals “SMART Goals”.

Commit to living a life of personal and professional goals accomplishment and Continuous Improvement.  Accept that you have the untapped potential to develop your current skills, abilities and qualities, as well as developing new and exciting ones.  This is only natural as we are all hard wired to strive for improvement in what we do.   

While the tools and practices of Continuous Improvement are often seen as ways to improve business systems and performance, they also apply to our own personal development and growth.  Embrace the concept of becoming a better you in all areas of life in 2019.

Workplace Continuous Improvement for Success in 2019

Much has been written in recent years about the concept and practice of Continuous Improvement in the workplace.  The pursuit of never ending increases in productivity, quality and profit underpins most strategic as well as operational plans.  In fact, Continuous Improvement is often presented as a methodology or set of systems that successful organisations embrace to ensure that they survive and prosper in a competitive and ever-changing market.

But Continuous Improvement is more than a system or a process applied to an organisation, department or a work team.  It is a state of mind, a set of values and a commitment to never accepting the notion that “things can’t be done better”.  Continuous Improvement begins with the idea that there might be a better way.  It involves people, processes and persistence to provide an ongoing means of remaining competitive and successful.  It relies upon effective teamwork, willing management and vigilance from the people at all levels of an organisation.  Importantly, it works on the premise that improvement will come from anywhere and anyone within the team, department or organisation, not just from the top down.

In 2019 you and your team can build a framework for continuous improvement within your area of responsibility.  This is the choice that you, as the leader, can make.

Encourage your team to look for new and better ways to do things – to accept an “Above the Line” attitude for their actions in your workplace.  Promote innovation and change.  Motivate individuals to risk, learn and grow their professional competencies.  In short, accept the challenge in 2019 to engage them in the positive group dynamics that evolves when everyone is focused on, and seeking, Continuous Improvement.

During the next quarter we hope the ideas and content we provide will be of significant value to you as you make 2019 your best year ever.

Grant Sexton
Founder and Chairman

Evaluate and measure – Recognising your commitment to 1% improvement

Continuous improvement does not focus on making huge gains or big improvements in one go. Instead, it focuses on long-term, steady progress towards your larger goals. This means that as a user of continuous improvement, you must also hone your ability to effectively focus on the progress you are making day-to-day, 1% at a time.

The greatest strength and weakness of the Continuous improvement model is that change will inevitably be slow, steady and consistent. As we discussed in the previous blog , it is human nature to look for obvious and substantial changes in ourselves or the situation around us for us to validate our efforts. Being able to evaluate and measure your improvements is important for your own motivation and ongoing commitment to the journey. If you are not measuring your progress, your subconscious brain will likely kick in and delay your progress by convincing you that you are not making any progress at all.

Continuous improvement is commitment to the journey, not the destination. In the spirit of this philosophy, one of the best ways to evaluate your 1% changes is to conduct a weekly review and document your findings. In this review answer the three following questions:

1) Where have I succeeded? What things did I improve upon this week? Acknowledging your progress and small improvements will you encourage you to take future positive actions.

2) Where did things get derailed? What things could you improve next week? By identifying the areas you believe you have to grow, you will be able to focus on making gradual changes to improve them.

3) Where to now? Even if you are happy with your general progress, you need to keep asking yourself what you plan to do as your next step forward. By identifying what you are going to do in the next week to improve, you are ready to commit to those improvements.

These evaluations are pivotal to your success. If you aren’t evaluating your progress, you won’t be able to see your own growth and you are more likely to resume old habits. Gradual improvement is generally fairly hard to see in the short term but huge in the long term. By evaluating our progress we can allow ourselves to see these little improvements.

By taking up the philosophy of Continuous improvement, your life won’t radically change overnight, but over time with consistent and constant improvement and dedication, you will find that you are directing your life along a path with the greatest possibility of success.

Continuous improvement – Keeping your 1% commitment

No matter how hard we tell ourselves that good things come to those who wait, our instinctive need to see big things happen fast is a part of our human nature. While many of us make a commitment to change in theory, in practice it can be much more complicated than simply setting a goal and working to achieve it.

Fortunately, by following the concept of Kaizen (1% improvement) every day, it will enable you to get off the roller coaster ride of feeling like a failure and being angry with yourself because you have given up on achieving your big goals. Instead, the 1% improvement philosophy will reward your efforts towards daily achievement, not momentous change in short bursts.

Despite the immense positive aspects of the incremental improvement model, it is still worth constructing a system around your new commitment to ensure yourself the highest probability of success.

For example, if one of your goals is to eat healthier, this is not something that can be achieved by doing it once or twice off. To achieve a better diet is a day-to-day commitment to yourself and your health made through the conscious choices you make with your food with each meal.

To put the concept of continuous improvement into action, the first thing you need to do is not focus on how much weight you wish to lose, rather focus on creating a system or process that enables you to cut back on the more negative food groups you gravitate to and replace the with positive options instead. This may by through a journal, a calendar or an app, just as long as it is a system that works for you and keeps you self-aware of the day-to-day commitment you have made and the progress you are making.

Once you have created the system that works, you can then break down your system into small actions or behaviours that will allow you to progress with the least amount of resistance and effort. Commit to these actions on a daily basis until your original system is habit. For example, commit to changing junk items from your shopping list to positive alternatives for each week and then increase the number of items each week after that.

Along with setting clear, incrementally focused goals, the other important factor about incremental achievement is that you must be able to evaluate your 1% successes. We will look into some of the ways you can measure your progress in our next blog .

Continuous improvement – Making a 1% commitment

How many times has an impending milestone rolled around, say a New Years or a momentous birthday, and along for the ride are the numerous but very rarely achieved resolutions (e.g. get fit, save more money, make more time for people, get that promotion)?

Unless you are a member of a small minority who are naturally consistent, goal-orientated high achievers, maintaining motivation and the commitment to achieving your goals is often hard and gruelling work. Without a plan in place or support behind you, the road to personal growth and development can seem like an arduous path to tread.

This is where the principles and thought patterns instilled through the practice of continuous improvement can make a huge difference to your personal life. By applying the principles of continuous improvement to your own goals, you can activate the concept of “1% improvement” to the big things you want to achieve in life.

The phrase “slow and steady wins the race” is a perfect summary for continuous improvement. If you truly desire a successful life where you are thriving, the first thing you must do is embrace the length of the journey towards self improvement you are embarking on. It is a lifelong journey of learning, self discovery and growth – it cannot be achieved through random bursts or moments of enthusiasm. On the contrary, only consistent and constant gradual changes that will have impact over time.

Once you are ready to step off the self improvement roller coaster, it’s time to embrace the philosophy of small, continuous improvement.

Start by setting your goals based on the philosophy of 1% incremental achievements. Keep in mind that setting the goal is the fun part. Staying motivated, focused and on track to achieving any goal is the hard part that requires day-to-day action. While the idea of 1% improvement may not seem like much in the short term, the concept of Kaizen (1% improvement from Japanese philosophy) works with the notion that over time, the smaller increments will add up to the achievement of any goal you set. No matter how small the amount of progress you make each day, you are guaranteed to feel a step closer to reacher your goal.

In the next piece  we will be looking into how to keep yourself motivated on your daily 1% journey.

5S Method – Organise

What is 5S

5S is an organisation method with a clear goal: to create a clean and efficient working environment.

When properly implemented, the 5S Method helps identify how a workspace should be organised to improve efficiency and effectiveness by identifying what is needed at each step of a process and ensuring it is immediately available.

  • Sort: Separating of the essential from the nonessential items – is each item of use?
  • Straighten: Organising the essential materials – is every useful items where it should be?
  • Shine: Cleaning the work area – is everything clean and stored properly?
  • Standardise: Establishing a system – does everyone know the 5S Method in your workplace?
  • Sustain: Establishing a safe and sanitary work environment – are team members reminded about 5S on a regular basis in an engaging way?

Why implement

There are many benefits to implementing the 5S Methods into your work area or office. The 5S steps are particularly useful when your overall goal is to reduce many forms of waste in any process or workstation:

  • Optimised organisation – By sorting and straightening the workplace, team members will spend less time looking for items, determining how to use them and returning them to the correct station. If all employees have heightened awareness of the 5S system, each individual will be working in a way that makes achieving workplace goals easier.
  • Efficiency – The 5S system compells organisations to improve efforts aimed to eliminate waste through improving products and services, and thus lowering costs.
  • Larger storage capacity – Standard 5S implementation results in the reduction of unnecessary items from production facilities, freeing up space that can be used more effectively.
  • Heightened safety – A focus on cleaning well-used areas and standardising practices ensures heavily trafficked areas are safer and general worker understanding of consequences of their actions are understood.
  • Morale is increased – Making it routine to implement proper procedures and discipline to avoid backsliding is one of the main objectives of the system. This practice improves the chances of avoiding dark, dirty, disorganized workplaces, which can foster lower morale among employees.

By encouraging your team to respect their workspace and watch for problems, positive change affects the performance of your people and your organisation’s culture. When implemented as part of a larger Lean initiative, the 5S Principles method can reduce waste, improve quality, promote safety and drive continuous improvement.

Minimising and maximising meetings

Eliminating activities that don’t generate value for your customer or your bottom-line are the primary tasks of the Lean methodology. While getting rid of them completely is nearly impossible, implementing effective waste systems can help you be a more efficient continuous improvement leader.

There is one key element of every workplace that can benefit immensely from the implementation of lean principles: meetings. One of the best ways you can help your team to prevent the generation of unnecessary waste is to adopt a daily meeting routine that is time efficient and effective. The stand-up or ‘scrum’ meeting structure is an enhanced form of the typical roundup meeting that is an inevitable part of each team’s activities.

Unlike long, unproductive team meetings that can require hours of debate, note taking and follow-up, the daily stand up has a few distinguishable features that encourage teams to improve constantly. It is the perfect meeting tool to assist your teams to become more focused on continuous improvement each day.

First of all, it is called a stand up because it is held on foot. During the meeting, every member of your team must present answers to three short, easy questions:

  • What did I accomplish yesterday?
  • What’s on the agenda for today?
  • What is blocking me from achieving my goals today?

Secondly, these short, snappy questions don’t require your team members to prepare long agendas or notes to combat long meetings. Instead, the continuous improvement meeting structure is designed is to boost information sharing between your team members, inspiring camaraderie and therefore improves collaboration between team members. With the ideal length of such a meeting being between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the size of the team, it is not a space to be taken up with gripes or excuses – this is a space to talk about what you’re doing and how you’re going to get it done.

The scrum style of meeting is a great way to keep everybody synchronised, but its format is unsuitable for in-depth analysis of your team’s activities. When it comes to discussing strategy or larger issues management, weekly WIP meeting should be set aside for those longer discussions.

Have any further ideas about how meetings can be improved? We’d love to hear them!

Implementing effective waste improvements

As a highly efficient lean manager in a waste conscious lean business, you will be aware of the most common forms of Waste. Once you have identified the sources of Waste, and how much it is costing your business, you should now turn your attention to the most cost-effective way to reduce different types of Waste disrupting your team and your cash flow.

After applying the DOWNTIME (Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Not Utilising Employees, Transport, Inventory, Motion, Excessive Processing) method of identifying Waste sources in your business, it’s time to come up with solutions to combat these costly issues in your business.


Defects in product can cause costly problems for any business. It can lead to valuable material been thrown out or reworked. One solution to combat defects would be to offer concession pricing to a customer made aware of slight defects or fire-sale pricing so that defective material can still be sold. An even better solution would be to utilise the 5 Whys  to get to the bottom of quality control issues that may be amended to control unreliable processing that causes defects in the first place.


Overproduction usually occurs from making something too soon, too much of, or faster than is needed. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? In reality, it can become a huge problem because it hides other elements of waste, such as undetected defects in runs of inventory and product damage. One way to clearly identify where overproduction happens and how to combat it is to utilise the Kansan system  to enable the pull of production through your processes.


Reducing waiting times may be one of the easier Waste issues to tackle, but it still involves planning and execution of processes to create the right environment for improvement. One easy way to reduce waiting times is to put in place clearer communication processes so changeovers between teams and workstations are minimised.

Not Utilising Employees

One of the most wasteful actions an organisation can undertake unwittingly is to box people into a specific role with particular tasks, effectively limiting how and where they are able to contribute. Instead of limiting your people, let them explore talents that aren’t specifically a part of their job description. Sometimes a solution to a problem or a more efficient way to complete a task can be found by asking the right person with the right set of skills.


Transport waste is any form of movement that adds no value to the product. Often resource heavy and time wasting, unintended transport waste can be costly and inefficient. To reduce the amount of transport time and resources needed, consider the current layout of your team’s workspaces. Could they be changed as per the principles of lean manufacturing? If yes, then actively create value streams and make that value flow at the pull of the customer. This will requires you to think more carefully about production lines and cells, ensuring that they contain all of the value adding processes rather than a functional layout.


Inventory waste is normally unnecessary stock that has accumulated in excess of the requirements to produce goods in time to supply demand. Think of every piece of excess stock as cash that isn’t in your pocket – the cost can quickly add up. Related to combating overproduction, dealing with inventory waste requires an attitude of making the business flow around the idea of Just in Time (JIT) production. Checking in with your Kanban system will allow you to see how fast stock is required, and where resources can be better utilised to help reduce wait times between product creation and shipping.


Excessive motion in your processes can give rise to a number of problems including lowered efficiency of your team and potential early breakdown of your machinery. To tackle motion waste, direct your team to utilise the 5S  method of identifying each step in their operation to complete a task and pinpoint ways their methods of working could be improved.

Excessive Processing

Overprocessing occurs when work is added to a task but does not improve the overall value or customer experience of a product. The tendency to overprocess usually comes from a workplace having unclear standards, resulting in many workers doing more than they need to do to get the job done well. One easy way to combat overprocessing is to implement the use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the form of written instructions and guidelines. If your team knows exactly what they are doing with each task, they won’t overreach on each individual task and will be able to accomplish more.

With any or waste solution you implement, it is a good idea to focus initially on quick wins – things you can do immediately that will reduce waste almost instantly. You might also want to consider quick fixes such as putting in place a temporary solution to a problem to give you time to design a more permanent answer. The main focus should always be on dealing with those problems which are most costly to your business because they will have the biggest impact on your profits.