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The Story of Lean and the 7 Wastes

Lean is a methodical approach for eliminating waste in everyday processes so that every step in the process adds value to the customer.

The 7 Wastes

Overproduction: This is when you manufacture a product that might not get used right away; you are manufacturing it on spec that you will need it. This is a tremendous amount of waste in storage costs, spending too much in material when it isn’t necessary, not to mention manpower. The goal is to only schedule and produce what is needed and can be shipped out and sold immediately.

Defects: Can be very costly as having to remanufacture a product that has already been made incorrectly can really affect your company’s bottom line. These unnecessary costs also include having to re-inspect products and additional work that doesn’t add value to the product that should have been correct in the first place.

Transportation: This is waste in the movement of material that doesn’t add value to the product. This happens when process layout is not good; for example, they are too far in distance between operations/tasks in the processes. Multiple storage locations due to overproduction could also lead to transportation issues.

Waiting: This is any idle time that is wasted in waiting or if the person doing the process is slow and the machine involved keeps running its cycles. If the processes that are interdependent are not synchronized, waste will occur in time and production costs.

Inventory: This is inventory that is considered excess stock, and work that has yet to be completed that is in excess of the required. Continuous flow is needed so that unnecessary inventory does not accumulate.

Motion: This is any motion of a person or equipment that does not add value to the end product. This is due to poor layout that makes excessive bending, walking or reaching when working the processes.

Over-Processing: This is putting unnecessary effort or more into a product than is valued by the customer. For example, painting or polishing unseen areas is considered waste because it is deemed not important to a customer if the area is unseen. To avoid this a clear specification of acceptable standards is necessary.

Interested in learning more about Lean methodologies? Learn about out our Lean Fundamentals program today!

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