Start by surveying the people closest to the work. They are intimately familiar with the process and know
the most about the waste, problems, and complexities. Prepare a list of questions that concentrate on the
problems caused by the process itself. Don’t get mired in the problems caused by individuals or
personality differences. Test the three operators and see if the questions are effective in getting at the
waste. Also encourage a general discussion of the process.
Conduct informal surveys if a process has a few operators. For large groups, follow up the informal survey
with a written survey. Besides designing the survey questions to find out what you want, you need to:
1) Explain the purpose of the survey.
2) Tell what you plan to do as a result of the survey.
3) Give the results to the people surveyed.
4) Do what you said you were going to do in item 2.
These steps are important to obtain honest, open responses and to keep the respect and support of those
Design surveys of internal and external customers not just to discover problems, but also to determine
how you can better meet customers’ needs and wants. Be prepared to respond promptly to any
concerns customers express. To avoid being overloaded, and to learn by experience, start with one or
two smaller customers.
Survey internal and external suppliers in a similar manner. Learning how to work with suppliers as a
team will benefit you both. Both parties can eliminate waste by learning each other’s needs and
Points to Remember
The purpose of a survey should be to find the waste of material, capital, time, energy and talent, and
from lost sales or opportunities.
Make sure participants understand the purpose is to find troubles in the process and not to blame
Communicate survey results to participants promptly.
The overall objective of the survey is to get suppliers, operators and customers of a process working as
a team to eliminate waste, problems, and complexities.