How (not) to use ‘waste’ in your information sharing strategy

How (not) to use ‘waste’ in your information sharing strategy

When I walked my dogs the other day, I saw the neighbors toss their trash bags into the garbage bin. My first thought: ‘All waste has a history.’ What used to be in those torn cardboard boxes and crumpled packaging that end up in the garbage heap, discarded and forgotten by mankind? Something interesting. Waste represents the remains of something we once craved or needed. So, why do we feel it’s worthless? Well, we eat the chicken, not the packaging (unless you’re my dog — but that’s a different story). And that very philosophy applies to data, too.

When does the packaging matter?

The fresher the bread, the more you want it. A days-old sandwich won’t excite you that much because it doesn’t taste very good. It’s simple as that.

Let’s face it: hot-of-the-press stuff tends to spark our interest. Take real-time data, for example — we can use it to make better decisions now rather than after the fact. That doesn’t mean historical data is uninteresting. Municipalities do study waste to determine how much glass, plastic, and metal it contains. These analyses may lead to useful measures, such as the reduction of plastic takeout boxes.

But this type of data is not interesting to consumers. To them, the packaging is only valuable when their much-coveted drumsticks and potatoes are still in it. And yes, if that packaging is optimized based on historical data, that’s beneficial: consumers are more likely to buy a well-packaged product, and they’ll probably enjoy it more, too. But they don’t want to give the packaging a second thought.

Historical versus real-time data on the work floor

Here’s what all this means on the work floor: you should use historical data to analyze and optimize your information sharing strategy without bothering employees with that process. Use the ‘waste’ to improve continuously and present your staff with actionable, real-time data. That way, they’ll have the information they need to make the right choice at the right time!

Want to explore your Visual Management opportunities? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to perform a Quick Scan and discuss your strategy.

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