Sunday, June 5, 2011

Waste Elinination In Condo or Homeowner Associations

The elimination of waste is the goal of any "Lean System", which has been popularized by the very successful Toyota Production System. It defines three broad types of waste; unreasonableness, inconsistencies, and activities that do not add any customer value. A condo or homeowner association is not exempt from these forms of waste and can also benefit from their elimination.

• Unreasonableness. This includes all the unreasonable work that a BoD imposes on its committees and members, such as forming a committee without a proper charter or description of the duties it is to perform, requiring a member to "jump through hoops" when satisfying a request for financial information, asking a member to investigate a project/idea, knowing that it will never be approved. Unreasonable work is almost always a cause of multiple variations.

• Inconsistencies. This is the variation and inconsistency that may exist within an association, such as; the enforcement of CCR's or the collection of delinquent maintenance fees, granting an architectural variance for one member, but not another. Lean focuses on how the work design is implemented and the elimination of fluctuation at the policy formulation level.

• Waste elimination. This specifies any human activity, which absorbs resources, but does not directly add value to association members such as; poorly run meetings, making a decision without sufficient factual information, continually revisiting a decision that has been made, calling a BoD member to find out the details of a past decision. These non-value-adding activities and results should be eliminated.

Lean is, in its most basic form, the systematic elimination of all forms of waste. Waste elimination is discovered after the process is in place and is dealt with reactively. It is seen through variation in output. It is the role of the BoD to examine the waste in the processes and eliminate the deeper causes by considering the connections to the unreasonableness and inconsistencies of the system.