How wasteful can making a slice of toast be?

When I was a Lean & Six Sigma fledgling, my mentor at the time always taught me the concept of waste in Lean by using analogies and activities from daily life that anyone can relate to. One such example is something many of us do every day: toasting a slice of bread.

I encourage my readers to try this at home (it is perfectly safe to do so):

  1. Learn what a spaghetti diagram is (online videos definitely exists for this
  2.  Trace a spaghetti diagram of your toasting a slice of bread all the way from when you enter the kitchen till the time the toast is on a plate ready to eat
  3. Measure how long it took you for this entire activity and how many steps you walked to accomplish it (free step counter apps can be downloaded onto your smart phone)
  4. Now think about the most streamlined way to accomplish the same activity and try to implement it
  5. While doing so, do steps 2. & 3. again and see the difference
  6. You now have ‘x’ minutes more per day to invest into a more useful activity my friends

Think about everything that you do on any given day from this viewpoint. The magnitude of wasted energy and time reaches a shamefully incalculable amount, doesn’t it?