How To Remove The Waste Of Non-utilizing Talent During Downtime

Non-utilization of talent ties in very closely to the waste of waiting. When an application goes down for maintenance, it can bottleneck a process from phasing into the next stage. Non-utilizing talent is one of the eight wastes of downtime that is 100% preventable. If the production line is on hold for maintenance due to downtime, directing employees to occupy themselves with busy work instead of shifting their attention on a task that has a direct impact on the company’s bottom line may be a waste of time.

This post will go over how to remove the waste of not utilizing talent of the production line during downtime.



Manufacturing environments' management who treat their employees as order-taking drones instead of critical-thinking beings have failed to utilize the available human resources effectively. Failure to assess the abilities and skill sets of working employees so they can perform value-added work activities is a huge waste of time and money. Underutilizing talent can cause management to overlook finding excellent solutions that could improve a manufacturing process if they do not open the dialogue. Management’s refusal to include employees in problem-solving processes is not an asset; it is a liability.



Employees are only as good as how well the management trains them. For example, sending a new employee off to watch 300+ industry videos and then throwing them to the wolves expecting them to do a task to get by is not only inadequate training, but it also shows a severe flaw in management’s leadership. Training must be objective to ensure effectiveness. Objective training enables employees to take action and be productive right away. In not doing so, the management is essentially leaving an employee to keep their heads above water while the employee hopes it does not rain.


Directing talent to do busy work is not a good use of downtime. Within a manufacturing environment, employees may know more about the production processes better than the management and may have ideas on how to improve it. When a manager utilizes an employee’s skill set and talent to better a manufacturing process, everyone benefits. Establishing a World Class Manufacturing culture is a team effort.