Reducing Laundry Handling Time From 45 to 12 Minutes

Lloyd Chigoma applied Lean methods to his laundry process, specifically the time to load, hang, sort and put away (not including washing and drying machine time). He mapped out the current state process, and identified multiple types of wastes, including:

  • Transporting clothes from drying to storing and folding
  • Sorting clothes was done twice instead of once
  • Time spent looking for matching pairs of socks
  • Rework in selecting clothes to dry and dropping clothes on the floor
  • Bending and movement to pick up clothes off the ground each time

As a result, he applied 5S and other improvement methods to the process and came up with a revised process. The improvements were as follows:

  • Introduced sorting clothes earlier in the process during loading and before hanging to eliminate sorting later on
  • Added a folding table near the clothes line to reducing sorting inside the house and reduced a step from drying to wardrobe for storage. This also reduced the defect when clothes are dropped on the floor
  • Added a washing bag for socks and loose items to reducing time spent looking for matching items

As a result of the improvements, he reduced his total manual time from 45 minutes down to 12 mins, saving 33 minutes, a 73% reduction in time!