We talk of waste as those expenses or expended efforts that do not lead to profitability or where end products do not meet/satisfy end users.
That explains why companies are always looking for ways to optimize processes to remove any potential wastes in time, materials or costs. In lean thinking, the 8 wastes refer to any processing activity that affects value delivery.
Seven wastes relate to the original lean concept that applied to the Toyota Production System and is production-oriented. The eighth waste relates to how a business’ management manages personnel.
Here are the 8 wastes of lean:
Defects reflect incorrect information, poor documentation and lack of standards. Other wastes relate to the presence of variances within the inventory or poor quality control.
- Excess processing
Excess processing is a result of poor operational designs or management issues. Duplication, human errors and poor facilities can result in excess processing. It is where there is extra work or more than what is necessary to satisfy the customer.
To counter this, businesses use a lean resource called process mapping. It involves a workflow design whose goal is to clearly define processes and optimize them to eliminate waste.
Overproduction refers to instances where production is more than the need or before it is needed. Poor automation, inaccurate information and time delays can result in overproduction.
One of the effects of this waste is excess WIP, a scenario that can create more scrap among other defects.
Waiting involves all the time wasted as delays mean no proceeding to the next step in the process. Waiting in lean practices can be from human resources, the materials or WIP that triggers more waste.
Waiting can lead to costs like overtime among other additional costs as processes delay. Companies eliminate waiting for waste using the same tools used to handle over-production.
Transportation wastes occur when there is unnecessary movement of goods or materials. Poor process designs or poor layouts can result in transportation wastes. Companies use value stream mapping to reduce transportation waste.
Inventory wastes relate to costs for holding the inventory and could be from raw materials, work in progress or finished goods. Companies can incur inventory wastes when there is over-purchasing, poor scheduling or forecasting. Defects and transportation waste can also lead to inventory waste.
Motion is a waste as it involves non-value adding time consumption, often leading to financial costs.
Any unnecessary movement of people is a waste that can be cut using an efficient process mapping tool.
- Non-Utilized Talent
This waste revolves around failure to utilize people’s skills, talents, and knowledge. In this case, the management may allocate the wrong tasks to employees or fail to offer the right communication.
Organizations are encouraged to handle this waste by way of proper training, availing employee development opportunities and incorporating everyone in process management.