Every business has deadlines to meet, so in trying to achieve our goals we may not pay attention to the waste that occurs. Perhaps we are working faster but not always smarter. Remember, if what we are doing is not adding value to our product or service it is waste.
Let’s outline the 7 Wastes of Lean as depicted in our infographic:
Transport: Remember transporting an item or materials doesn’t in itself add value to our product. Having everything in one building or location would lower costs of fuel and possibly staffing and waiting, which increases production cost and time.
Motion: This is excess motion, whether it is bending down to pick something up or moving from one place to another. Or maybe it is the need of another machine to take the item from one place to another, all of which is considered waste. It could be the cause of an accident happening, or a staff member hurting their back picking something up. A well-organized workspace is where minimal movement is necessary and everything you need is close by.
Inventory: It is everyone’s desire to have enough materials on hand just in case. Having a stock isn’t always a good thing. This is inventory that you do not need. It takes up storage; capital is tied up in that excess inventory, all of which increases production costs and doesn’t add any value. Plus, this inventory does get old just sitting there.
Overproduction: Yes, it is nice to be ready if a customer needs your product, but producing more than you need is again a waste. What happens if the anticipated need of extra product isn’t needed? Now you have wasted manpower, as well as costs of extra materials.
Defects: Errors in products from the design (or just about any reason) must be replaced. Anything that is not what the customer’s requirement is must be handled as a mistake. So everything in a product is a waste if it doesn’t meet the requirement of the customer. This includes labor, paperwork, replacement of the product or possible future loss of customers.
Over-Processing: Processing or doing anything that is not necessary. This can include painting something that no one will see, or adding a component that the customer doesn’t require.
Waiting: Anytime you have to stop production because of the previous step not being ready, that previous task has to be done more efficiently so waiting is not an issue.