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I’ve seen lots of groups run effective 5S’s on a work area without conducting a motion study, but when trying to make a case for moving or buying equipment, it helps to show how much time people are spending and the distance they’re walking given the current setup. As an example, I saw a group make the case for individual printers once they showed the time, distance and reprinting going on in a high-volume process using a shared printer. In that case they used a Spaghetti Map which is a great tool for understanding people movement. That illuminates the Waste of Motion as well as the Waste of Time.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.