8 Wastes of Lean
The 8 Wastes of Lean
The 8 Wastes of Lean aims to help you identify and remove wastes from your product or service and in the processes you use to create them.
Waste is defined as any action or step in a process that does not add value to your product or service in the eyes of the customer. This means that the customer wants to avoid paying for your inefficiencies when you created the product or service. This inefficiency results in a higher price than he wants to pay. Lean thinking helps you reduce cost by removing wastes from work processes. Removing the waste allows you to offer lower prices or enjoy better profits.
Originally, there were seven wastes (Muda) identified by Taiichi Ohno, the Chief Engineer at Toyota, as part of the Toyota Production System (TPS). In the 1990s, the eighth waste, “not utilizing talent” was included when the western world began to adopt the Lean Management philosophy.
You can easily recall the 8 Wastes of Lean by remembering the word “DOWNTIME”.
- Not utilizing talent
- Inventory excess
- Motion waste
- Excess processing
Any defect is in your product or service is waste and needs to be avoided. It can lead to outright rejection or re-work. Both situations result in unnecessary expenses and reduce profits.
The consequence of a faulty product or service reaching the customer also tends to be fatal to your relationship with the customer. You may be destroying the value of your brand and preventing future sales.
If it is not possible to remove defects entirely, then your team needs to exert all efforts to minimize the possibility of delivering a defect to the customer. Identifying the cause for defects is the key.
- Lack of Quality Assurance mechanisms
- Weak quality control mechanisms
- Substandard inputs
- Lack of a Quality Management System
- Ineffective training programs
- Applying rigorous Root Cause Analysis to determine why defects are produced
- Applying error proofing techniques (Poka Yoke) to prevent mistakes from happening
- Applying a Quality Assurance System
- Applying a Quality Control System
- Designing and Implementing a Quality Management System
- Developing standard work procedures
- Regular Training and assessment of employees
2. Over Production
The waste of Over Production is making more items than the demand from customers.
- Production based on Forecast
- Making items just-in-case
- Delayed information on actual demand
- Large Batch Sizes
- Unreliable Processes
- Unbalance Work Cells
- Faulty process flows
- Ineffective forecasting techniques
- Adopting a Just-in-Time model of production
- Developing a pull system aligned to the level of customer demand
The waste of Waiting occurs when people, parts, or documents in the process chain have to wait (remain idle) before taking the next action in the process.
- Unplanned Machinery or system downtime
- Lack of parts
- Emergency Work
- Lack of Manpower
- Faulty Production Planning
- Faulty work instructions
- Application of Lean Maintenance Techniques
- Effective Lean Purchasing Polices coupled with effective supplier relationships
- Lower Batch Sizes
- Application of Just-in-Time philosophy
- Effective Inventory Planning
- Effective Production Planning
- Effective Forecasting Training
4. Not Utilizing Talent
Not Utilizing Talent refers to the concept that employees are not being utilized to their full capability or, conversely that they are engaged in tasks that would be more efficiently done by someone else. Although this waste is not part of the original “7 Wastes identified” by Taichi Ohno, this 8th waste of “Not Utilizing Talent” or “Skills” of workers was introduced in the 1990s when the Toyota Production System was adopted in the Western world.
Not Utilizing Talent is also known as the “Waste of Intellectual Capital.”
Implementing the 8 wastes management philosophy also requires a robust and driven workforce. A workforce that seeks self-improvement and thrives to achieve quality output for customers.
- Separating the role of management and employees. Management Plans, Leads, Organized and Controls (PLOC) while employees simply follow orders and execute the work as planned
- Insufficient training
- Poor incentives
- Not asking for employee feedback
- Placing employees in positions below their skills and qualifications
- Employees are not challenged to come up with ideas to improve the work
- Respect for People. Hire people for their minds as well as for their muscles.
- Ask the front-line staff for ideas to improve a product or service.
- Train and empower staff to solve problems at their level before they escalate the issues to higher management.
- Create a culture where ideas also flow bottom-up and the employees are motivated and engaged.
The waste of Transportation is the unnecessary movement of products from one place to another that does not add value to the product i.e. intermediate storage. Lean optimizes the flow of inputs within a manufacturing or office environment.
- Long distances between processes
- Inefficient Office or Factory Layouts
- Large batch size
- Multiple storage Locations
- Locate processes closely together
- Apply the one-piece flow concept
- Develop efficient hand-offs and minimal back and forth process steps
- Use simple lean tools like spaghetti and swim-lane charts to optimize flow
The waste of inventory is having anything that is not required to meet production requirements and safety stock levels. Inventory costs money in terms of storage, safety, upkeep and recording. Lean companies continuously look for ways to avoid excess inventory.
Possible Causes for Excess Inventory:
- Poor demand forecasting
- An emphasis on producing to forecast
- Not listening to the pull of the customer
- Bottlenecks within the process flow
- Ineffective monitoring systems
- Procurement policies based on cost reduction through large purchases
- Improve forecasting through adequate training
- Shift a greater amount of production to the pull of the customer
- Understand and Implement Just-in-Time where possible.
- Develop Lean Supplier relationships.
- Implement Lean Kanban Systems to control inventory flow
- Identify and fix bottlenecks within the process and to reduce inventory.
The waste of Motion is the unnecessary movement of tools, documents or employees. Unnecessary motion costs money and is a waste.
Possible Causes of Motion Wastes:
- Grouping of people or machines according to functions eg by departments or type of machine rather than the flow required by the process
- Locating tools, data or documents in a central area resulting in everyone having to travel to that area to retrieve their needs.
- Optimize office or factory flow using a spaghetti chart and motion studies
- Use technology to minimizing people or document movement e.g. file sharing, .
- Use 5S to optimize utilization of space
8. Excess Processing
Similar to over production, excess processing relates to unnecessary internal processes. Excess processing relates to performing the same process again instead of focusing on getting it right-first-time and every time.
An example of Over processing is having a document have to go through many layers of approvals before final action.
Possible Causes of Excess Processing:
- Excessive reporting
- Duplicate entry of data at various stages
- Back and forth flow of queries related to the same documents
- Re-work caused by human errors.
- Creating and analyzing the value stream to identify steps where errors are committed
- Analyzing the value stream to identify duplicate and redundant steps
- Encouraging a one-touch philosophy
- Creating error proofing mechanisms (poka-yoke) to prevent errors
Summary of the 8 Wastes of Lean
One of the keys to retaining customers is to build a brand that delivers on its promise. The removal of waste, “Muda”, using the 8 Wastes of Lean as a guide is simple, proven, and effective way to live your brand. Your organization will benefit form adopting the Lean Management Philosophy of improving quality by attacking the 8 Wastes of Lean.
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