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Springfield Junk Removal (SJR) is a transportation company specializing in commercial construction and residential customers with waste management and junk removal services across the Greater Springfield area since 2015. They started as a 2-man team and have now grown to 6 full-time employees and two part-time.

They offer a green alternative to junk removal, recycling, and donating a large part of their business, making them a popular choice for conscientious customers.


Because SJR carries a full-time schedule throughout the year, time management efficiency is of the essence, especially at the customer level.

SJR recognized the need to improve their workflow by eliminating waste (pun intended!) by keeping a streamlined schedule, so they get the right stuff to the right place, at the right time to stay on schedule and be on time for the next customer.

After careful analysis, it was determined that most time suck consisted at the customer level, especially at the payment transaction time.


I decided to see if Lean, the business management philosophy originating from Toyota, could work at the small business level for companies like SJR.

Lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources. The philosophy revolves around standardization of process, continuous improvements, precise timing, and zero waste. What a relevant system for a waste management company!

When business consultants think of lean, they typically see it as a tool for manufacturing companies. This is a false notion because Lean is used successfully in health care organizations, governments, and large retail companies like Nike.

Lean focuses on activities providing the highest value to the customer—a process known as value stream mapping. By using this method, I could determine what generated the most revenue while eliminating unnecessary steps.

The answer was simple for SJR: to improve the payment system for the customer at the time of the work was being completed.

Instead of estimating costs by eye-balling or the time it took to remove the junk, payment was made as soon as the trash was on the truck and really to be transported.

This Lean business model enabled the employees to stop tracking the time to get the job done, the cost of dumping at facilities, and the estimates for aurous materials like mattresses, couches, and appliances.


By teaching SJM the principle of Synchro, a Lean production system that stands for Synchronization of man, machine, market, and material; management experienced first-hand how streamlined the process could be while delivering the best customer experience possible.

Implementing Lean at the small business level proved to be a successful choice for SJM. A waste company eliminating their waste, especially at the time level, not only created a perfect metaphor but also a great training tool for the employees who “got it.”

Now instead of waiting to contact customers after a completed job “hoping” to be paid, the employees are virtually removed from the payment process allowing them to do what they well: helping the customer eliminate their junk.

With Lean, sales are now tracked efficiently, showing what was done by location, revealing the area where sales are strong, and where they should focus.