What is Waste?

  • The 7 wastes are at the root of all unprofitable activity within your organization.
  • Waste elimination is one of the most effective ways to increase profitability in manufacturing and distribution businesses. To eliminate waste, it is important to understand exactly what waste is and where it exists. While products differ in each factory, the typical wastes found in manufacturing environments are quite similar. After years of work to eliminate waste, Toyota, the Japanese automobile manufacturer, identified the following seven wastes as the most prominent ones.

The 7 Wastes

  • Overproduction
  • Transportation
  • Motion
  • Waiting
  • Processing
  • Inventory
  • Defects.

The 7 wastes consist of:

  • Overproduction is to produce more than demanded or to produce it before it is needed. It is visible as storage of material. It is the result of producing to speculative demand.
  • Transportation does not add any value to the product. Instead of improving the transportation, it should be minimized or eliminated.
  • Motion of the workers, machines, and transport (e.g. due to the inappropriate location of tools and parts) is waste. Instead of automating wasted motion, the operation itself should be improved.
  • Waiting for a machine to process should be eliminated. The principle is to maximize the utilization/efficiency of the worker instead of maximizing the utilization of the machines.
  • Processing waste should be minimized. All unnecessary processing (non value added) steps should be eliminated. Combine steps where possible.
  • Inventory or Work In Process (WIP) is material between operations as a result of large lot production or processes with long cycle times. This creates excess inventory that requires extra handling, space, interest charges, people, and paperwork.
  • Defects. Making defective products is pure waste. Focus on Preventing the occurrence of defects instead of finding and repairing defects.

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