In a variety of industries, organizations spend a great deal of time monitoring waste. The raw materials that go into making products have a direct impact on the bottom line. Every little bit that must be thrown away due to inefficiencies chisels away at profits. Therefore, organizations focus heavily on refining their processes and techniques to reduce the amount of inputs they are wasting.
So, here's a question for us: how do we reduce waste in the mortgage industry? What are the "raw materials" that go into producing our products that we can continually review so as to be as efficient with them as possible? Of course, we do have physical materials that we use -- paper, computer software, office space, etc. There can be waste in these areas -- we could be printing off more things than we need to, not using a particular feature of software that is available to us, or leaving too many rooms in the office vacant. But the real risk of waste lies elsewhere in the mortgage industry.
As with any service-oriented industry, the real risk of waste lies not in physical materials but rather in time. If we are incurring a great deal of loss in the mortgage industry, it isn't likely because we're going through too many ink pens; it's more likely because we're wasting time. As leaders in the mortgage industry, this is the waste we need to be monitoring. We need to make sure our people are spending their time doing things that matter -- things that save the business money or make the business money. Idle time in the mortgage industry is like letting raw materials go to waste. Lost time is literally pouring money down the drain.