One of the greatest reasons why Toyota has become so efficient and has completely changed the industry, disrupting it, was their implementation of the "Just-in-Time Production System", first developed by Taiichi Ohno.
Before the implementation of the system, manufacturing factories were very inefficient. A car part would have to travel long distances inside the factory, from one place to another, until it was finalized and ready to be included in the car. This created a lot of problems, including breakage, loss of parts, accidents etc. Until, one day, Taiichi Ohno realized how all the problems involving transportation inside the factory would disappear if only they would connect all the processes in a line, so that when a process finished, the part wouldn't have to be transported, but rather it would just smoothly enter the next process. Thus inventing the production line for the first time. Ohno noticed what he later called "waste of movement".
Now imagine the exact same thing happening in your house.
Take the entire process of doing the laundry for example. For those who don't have a dryer, if your washing machine is on the ground floor but you hang the laundry on the balcony that's on the second floor, you've got waste of movement. The solution? If possible, set up the washing machine right next to the place where you hang the laundry. Then set the folding table along with the baskets right next to that. Then set up (part or all of the) closet space next to the folding table.
You can do this to every process around the house that requires more than one step. Even the smallest of things. Do you enjoy eating peanut butter and jam with your toast 3 times a week? Put the jars, spreading knives and a stack of plates right next to the toaster.
Try noticing all the movements that you do around the house, and see where you may have waste of movement. Eliminate it by connecting related processes, moving them closer to each other.
The Zero Way means exactly that, finding the waste of movement in your every day life and eliminating that. The elimination of a series of small gestures can make way for new small habits, that in time, accumulated, give you a boost in your day-to-day efficiency.
By the way, letting everyone in the household know about the practices in place makes things go smooth, so be sure to teach everybody about The Zero Way, or the way towards zero waste of resources, space, time and movement.
Are there any examples you can give from around your house of the "Just-in-Time System"?
Can you think of any other processes that can be improved using this system?
Leave a comment and let us know what ideas you have.