MUDA (無駄 ?) is a Japanese word meaning “futility; uselessness; idleness; superfluity; waste; wastage; wastefulness”, and is a key concept in the Toyota Production System (TPS) as one of the three types of deviation from optimal allocation of resources (muda, mura, muri). (From Wikipedia)
I was in Cebu a few weeks ago to observe the Continuous Improvement (CI) program training for Visayas. I was only able to attend the last two days of the 5-day training but I learned a lot from sitting at the back of the room, watching school administrators make paper planes, launching them, recording the results, redesign the paper planes and re-thinking their strategies and trying them out.
Muda is one of the new words I learned in that training. It is one of the filters in looking at your performance and really looking at the why why why of things (root cause). As school administrators discussed how they will be applying what they learned, I was also looking at how I will use my takeaways from the training in my triathlon team as I am the Team Captain of my team, Team Marquez.
My takeaways that week was (1) record data and (2) ask why again and again and again – looking at the root cause of things. I realised that I did not have the data of the team on a record. Everybody knows their numbers but as a team we need to put it somewhere so that we could refer back to it and support each other in improving the numbers. We need a baseline for a 2K swim, 40K bike and 10K run. It would be good to go back to the numbers and see if there are improvements. We also need to get the team’s weight as a good number of people in the team need to lose weight.
Another takeaway is asking why again and again. Post race, after the celebrations, we would talk about what went wrong during the race and talk about how we can train better and how the support group can also do a better job – accommodation, transport arrangements, dinner, etc.
Last Sunday, while cheering for Team Marquez newbies (my actual paper planes), I saw some Mudas during the swim. People taking their goggles off everytime they stop swimming for example. They take them off, put it back again then start swimming again. Imagine how much time that will waste and imagine how fast you finish if you only put on your goggles once. I do this as well but when I found the right goggles that fit really well, this was minimized or even eliminated. Another Muda I observed was people chatting during transition. It is good to be friendly but not during the race. People should be mindful of the time as it will be part of your results. Chat after the race or before the race but not during the race.
Again, applying the my CI takeaways, Team Marquez need to have a record of baselines for weight, swim, bike and run times. I think we need to have time trials in January then do them again every two or three months. Also, we need to have some key questions to ask for the support team and the athletes for events. I need to remind the team to be friendly before or after the race and mindful of the transition times. Another thing is we need to check the equipment we have (i.e. Goggles) so that we can perform better next time.