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Seven Wastes of Lean

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Seven Wastes of Lean


Seven Wastes of Lean - in the lean philosophy all unproductive activities in a process / system can be clubbed under 7 categories. These are Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over Production, Over Processing and Defect. These can be easily remembered by using the acronym - TIMWOOD.

Alternately, these 7 can also be remembered using WORMPIT (Waiting, Over Production, Rework, Motion, Over Processing, Inventory and Transportation).



An application oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Mohan PB on 3rd November 2017. 




Q37 - The seven wastes of Lean is a great concept and has been an eye opener for many professionals. Let us assume that a leadership/ business ownership team member asks you - What are some of the ways we can put this concept to good use in the organization?. What would you say? 


Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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Knowing and looking for any of the seven wastes and just working to eliminate them will not be as effective as making waste elimination part of an organization-wide Lean Transformation Programme. Having been questioned by the Leadership on the best uses of the concept of Seven Wastes, would use this opportunity to also present my proposal for Lean Transformation in my organization.

Lean Transformation Program

1.    Mission Statement

a.    Derive Lean Transformation Mission Statement from the Organizational Mission Statement

b.    Achieving the Lean Transformation Mission will take the organization closer to achieving its Mission

2.    Objectives

a.    Derive lean Transformation Objectives (Quantified, Tangible) from the Mission Statement

b.    If the Objectives are fulfilled, the Mission will be achieved

3.    Governance Structure

a.    Steering Committee

b.    Working groups

c.    Frequency of reviews

d.    Roles and Responsibilities

e.    Creation and Approval of Lean Roadmap

4.    Steering Committee

a.    Responsibilities

b.    Authorities

c.    Targeted Savings

d.    Budget approvals

e.    Training plan

f.     Socialization Plan

g.    Plan for leveraging Technology

h.    Base-lining of current costs

i.      Target setting guidelines for Working Groups and Projects

j.      Norms for Rewards and Recognition

5.    Working Groups

a.    Responsibilities

b.    Authorities

c.    Expenditure approvals

d.    Target finalization

e.    Norms for identifying Lean Transformation projects

6.    Training of Trainers

a.    External or Internal training of In-house trainers

b.    Preparation of gamified training material, props, artifacts, audios and videos by these trainers for training other staff

7.    Lean Awareness Sessions

a.    Plan for introducing all staff to basics of Lean Management

b.    Training to be done by trained trainers

c.    Weekly and Monthly Awareness Training coverage report vertical-wise and for the organization

8.    Training in Lean Methodology

a.    Training of staff on Lean methodology including waste identification and Value-Stream mapping in batches

b.    Games and Exercises inbuilt in the training session

c.    Lean Project completion mandatory for certification after training

9.    Socialization

a.    Roadshows, Standees, Posters, Videos

b.    Competitions and Quizzes with Prizes

c.    Sensitize all staff to become intolerant to any waste

10.  Project Identification

a.    Lean Transformation project identification in all verticals

b.    Cross-Functional Lean Transformation Project team formation

c.    Identified projects to be reviewed by Vertical Working Group and cleared for kickoff

11.  Project Execution

a.    Progress of Lean Transformation Projects in a structured manner

b.    Structured approach to executing Lean transformation projects by Waste Identification and Elimination including

                      i.    Scoping the project

                     ii.    Base-lining current costs for process being improved

                    iii.    Documentation of existing process steps in detail using appropriate tools like SIPOC, Process Maps

                   iv.    Preparation of Current State Value Stream Map

                    v.    Analysis of Current State VSM

                   vi.    Waste identification in Current Value Stream

                  vii.    Preparation of Future State VSM

                 viii.    Risk analysis through FMEA and other Tools, Control evolution and implementation

                   ix.    Kaizen blitzes to eliminate identified wastes

                    x.    Implementing the improved process after selective, controlled piloting

                   xi.    Preparation of (Now) Current VSM, comparing it with (Earlier) Future VSM and identifying further opportunities 

                  xii.    Handing over the improved process to the Process Owner

12.  Project Reviews

a.    Review by the Working Group at different stages and after different milestones

b.    Review by the Steering Committee after project completion

c.    Identifying opportunities for reading across and replicating Best practices in other verticals

13.  Auditing of benefits

a.    Auditing of the benefits by Finance and validation of the same

b.    Lean Transformation Project Benefit validation report by Finance

14.  Rewards and Recognition

a.    Recognition of project team members depending on benefits obtained and impact created

b.    Annual Lean Transformation Celebrations

c.    Embedding Lean Transformation in the organisation’s DNA

15.  Continual Lean Transformation Programme Improvement

a.    Periodic review and audit of Lean Transformation Programme Methodology vis-à-vis audited benefits

b.    Leaning out the Lean Transformation Programme

c.    Continually improving the ROI of the Lean Transformation programme

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The set of seven wastes of Lean, popularly known as TIMWOOD (Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over production, Over processing, Defects) is certainly a good concept to keep tab on continual opportunities for efficiency improvement. The question about putting these concepts into good use in the organization will have to be responded depending upon its timing.  i.e. if we address this question:

  1. While setting up a new operation, or new process, then we can think and plan in a preventive manner
  2. Otherwise if we are dealing with a well-established process, we have to think in a corrective manner, unless we can afford for a full-fledged process re-engineering

For the first case above, where we are setting up afresh, the set of activities would be as follows:

  1. Start with understanding the product, the customer requirements, and specifications and perform a QFD (Quality Function Deployment) exercise.
  2. Every requirement needs to be understood and clarified so that we then design the process to address the customer requirements as precisely as possible. This will help in controlling the wastes; viz. Defects and Over processing. (Here an example of over processing could be making a surface more glossy than required, due to inadequate understanding of the specifications)
  3. Obtain the detailed process mapped along with the locations as per the floor layout.
  4. Identify the opportunities to reduce Transportation. If the process layout is designed to reduce transportation, it also helps to control Inventory to an extent.
  5. During study of the process and floor layout, another waste, i.e. Motion may also be addressed to the extent possible. Good work station ergonomics, selection of right equipment for each job, form part of the preventive steps to reduce avoidable Motion.
  6. Another issue that need to kept in mind during the process design review is the balancing of production line, otherwise would result in another waste; i.e. Waiting. Apart from balancing, the choice of equipment to reduce breakdowns, set-up time etc. would also help preventing waiting time.
  7. Not having adequate flexibility to have quick setup changes can lead to another waste; i.e. Overproduction. Due to higher setup change over times, we may tend to overproduce to avoid running out of stock of any particular part.

For the second case, where we have an already established process:

  1. As the first step concentrate on the waste, Defects. Here we are considering even a delayed delivery as a defect. It is important to ensure whether the defect rate is under control; and whatever work that we undertake to reduce the other wastes should not result in an adverse impact on defect rates.
  2. The next step is to look at those waste elements that can be dealt without having to do a major re-engineering of the process or layout. It may sometimes not be easy to segregate those waste categories, since this element may be part of each category.
  3. Simple workplace modifications, training and ergonomics could bring down the unwanted Motions.
  4. Adhering to work instructions and compliance to process control would contribute to reduction of Defects.
  5. A good production planning system on “pull” basis can help in Inventory control, as well as Over Production
  6. Uncomplicated modifications in the layouts could reduce Transportation. If we are engaging vendors, they can be encouraged to set up shops close by to reduce Transportation.
  7. A good preventive maintenance schedule and compliance will help in reducing Waiting due to downtime.
  8. Inexpensive line balancing methods like resource planning, additional stations for critical bottlenecks could help in reducing waiting times as well as Over processing.

The decision of going for a major re-engineering of the process and layout has to be taken, considering the cost-payoff and tenure of the business

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What is Waste in a process:

Waste is any step or action in a process that is not required to complete a process (called “Non-Value-Adding”) successfully. When Waste is removed, only the steps that are required (called “Value-Adding”) to deliver a satisfactory product or service to the customer remain in the process.

Type of waste in the process as per Lean methodology:

Waste related to Quantity:

  • Transport

  • Inventory

  • Over production


    Waste related to People

  • Motion

  • Waiting

  • Over processing

  • Skill underutilization


    Waste related to Quality

  • Defect


Based on my experience, I am giving the examples for each type of waste and solution recommended

1. Transport: waste is material or process movement that is not directly associated with a value adding process.

As Is process: In one of the engagement, to perform the monthly reward and recognition (R&R); team use to get the R&R certificate printed in Pune location (as per operation, having better control by maintaining the centralized process) and use to send the certificate Bangalore over office courier. Process owner use to sign it and send back the Pune certificate again using office courier.

Waste in the process: This is a clear example of Transport waste where Movement of certificate from Pune to Bangalore and back to Pune

Solution implemented: Get the Bangalore certificate printed over here in Bangalore and Pune certificate printed in Pune and get the digital signature of process owner.


2. Over production: Waste is producing more than needed

3. Inventory: waste is stock and ‘work in process’ more than the requirements

As Is process: in P2P process, Invoice clearing team use process job and logout at 03:00 AM IST, however the Indexing team uses to process till 5:00 AM IST. This job use to be in the Invoice clearing team queue next day.

Waste in the process: This is a clear example of Over production and Inventory waste where Indexing team is processing the more job and making it wait in Invoice processing team’s queue

Solution implemented: Performed analysis on volume flow from client and suggested multiple shift in Invoice processing team. By this, eliminated both Over production and Inventory waste.


4. Motion: Waste of motion is any motion of man or equipment that does not add value to product or service

5. Waiting: Waste of waiting is any idle time produced when 2 interdependent processes are not completely synchronized

As Is process: In P2P process, it was asked Indexing team to push the duplicate invoices to Invoice hold queue. And in SOP of team whore are handling Invoice hold queue were asked to trash the duplicate invoices.

Waste in the process: This is a clear example of both Motion and Waiting where unnecessarily duplicate invoice use to go to Invoice hold queue and wait there to get trashed

Solution implemented: Change the SOP of Indexing team where, if they see the duplicate invoice then trash the invoice immediately.


6. Over processing: Over Processing is putting more into the product than is valued by the customer.

As Is process: In segregation of duty (SOD) process, it was required to get the 5 layers of approval, before giving the application access to new joiners

Waste in the process: This is a clear example of Over processing waste where unnecessary approvals are placed and each approval had a TAT of 5 WD.

Solution implemented: Discussed with the clients and ensure that there is no business reasons for this multiple approval and removed the 3 layers of approval for new joiners.


7. Skill underutilization: Not using the full potential of individual

As Is process: In one of the engagement, client agreed for higher billing rate and demanded for experienced resource for there job. Due to this, company hired all the team members are SME level (by designation); however, they were required to do the processing of the job (analyst level job)

Waste in the process: This is a clear example of skill underutilization waste where experienced resources were asked to do the analyst level job i.e. processing the job with daily target.

Solution implemented: There was no solution deployed by me, however team suffered huge attrition within 6 months as team member were not exited with the job they were doing.


8. Defect: additional work performed on a product or service due to not processing job correctly first time

Most of my projects are around mitigating Defect and due to this, I am not giving any specific example for the same.


Conclusion: AS per me, in service industry, there is lot of scope for Lean improvements then pure Six Sigma projects. And also in Lean improvements elimination of 8 Waste in the process will be definitely low hanging fruits.


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Earlier it use to be 7 waste Now Made as 8 waste in nature It come under MUDA of Japanese Term conversion as  "Waste" 
To remember the 8 Wastes, you can use the acronym, “DOWNTIME.”
Defects – Products or services that are out of specification that require resources to correct.
Overproduction – Producing too much of a product before it is ready to be sold.
Waiting – Waiting for the previous step in the process to complete.
Non-Utilized Talent  Employees that are not effectively engaged in the process
Transportation – Transporting items or information that is not required to perform the process from one location to another.
Inventory – Inventory or information that is sitting idle (not being processed).
Motion – People, information or equipment making unnecessary motion due to work space layout, ergonomic issues or  searching for misplaced items.
Extra Processing – Performing any activity that is not necessary to produce a functioning product or service.
With respect to the above Question We can put to Good Use In organisation by ways such as Alert or Warnings , Reduce or try to Eliminate depending upon the  Nature of waste.
Considering Mechanical System 
1) We can reduce or eliminate Defects by control methods including Mistake proofing /Poke yoke 
2) we can reduce or eliminate Overproduction by changing from PUSH system to Pull System , Made to Stoke to Made to order , Reverse Kanban ordering and super market.
3)Waiting is tricky but need to Reduce by methods such as SMED (single minute exchange of Dies),Line Balancing, controlled Inventory /safety stock( again a waste if inventory).
4) Transportation by using conveyors instead of human motions , plant layout reorganization from process to product layout , cell systems etc...re-planing activity to have less motion and movements , using ergonomic design of Work benches and assembly lines 
5) Inventory Complete elimination may not be possible but reduction should be made using methods such as batch production , pull Kanban and made to order etc...
6)Motion here motion is for human and transportation is for Products so motion can be worked out with Ergonomic study , moving assembly line (car assembly line), usage of jigs for manufacturing and assembly, usage of Power-tools and automation.
7) Extra processing / over processing this needs to be addressed by working on VA and NVA (value added and Non Value added ) study . eliminating process depending on functional need of the products rather than aesthetics. controlled working environment rather than safety stock ( working towards the mean rater than UCL )which may sometime process to rework ( myth of keeping stock to rework rather than scrap / salvage allowance )
the 8th waste Talent utilization is done by considering the views of all members and allocating roles and responsibility depending upon talent and behavior rather than hierarchy and influential / favoritism , utilizing everyone in stand up meetings andsolving problems as a team 
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The seven wastes of Lean is a great concept and has been an eye opener for many professionals. Let us assume that a leadership/ business ownership team member asks you - What are some of the ways we can put this concept to good use in the organization?


My answer to the above question will be:


The easiest of ways to implement lean in an organization is following the 5's policy in arranging data for the Company, be it hard copies or soft copies.  Simply following the 5s would make people in the organization realize the importance of lean.


Similarly, simple automation of manual processes to the extent possible will give some productivity benefits to the organization.


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My first response would be on confirming with the leadership team on whether they are convinced enough that their business is having wastes, as I require their support for identifying and removing wastes from their business.Post receiving their signal, I would validate 2 things.

 a) Are we processing more than what is required?

B) Are we receiving more than what we could process?

The above 2 points will address the over production and inventory wastes.

c) Arrive at a process map to understand the end to end process.

d) Arrive at a current state VSM that helps identify VA & NVA. This in turn will address the over processing, transport wastes. 

e) Review quality dashboards/audits to understand errors/defects and look for means to eliminate these defects.






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Theoritically we have seven wastes such as "Over production", "waiting", "Excess Inventory", "Rework", "Transportation", "motion" and "Over processing". Additionally people's potential are wasted in many occasions.

 Having said that,  these are some of the ways we can remove these NVAs from our system:

- Instead of doing audits , do benchmarking analysis and identify the root causes and fix the problem with a system so that these errors are completely curbed in the future ( System based solutions ) -- Poka yoke. 5 why analysis will be of great help if done diligently.

- A clear SIPOC diagram for a process will help identify the wastes explained above so that we can remove these wastes and these SIPOC's should be done frequently. (Offcourse a Value stream exercise will largely help. But when SIPOC is continuously visited major problems can be avoided). Culture development in the organization should be built to ensure that they review the SIPOC and should be able to bring in new ideas to remove these NVAs.  If the entry level person in the organization is  trained in this manner, his understanding about the system and his contribution will be great.

- Always look forward a system based solution to fix the problem.

When followed these diligently to greater extent these wastes can be removed.



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Simple way to start off putting seven wastes of lean in to good use in the organization are as follows. Engage key leaders / business owners in educating about these seven wastes. Engage key folks from practitioner’s team and socialize about these seven wastes. Most importantly brain storm on what are the equivalent wastes that are prevalent in the organization. Taking example from my own company of IT, Defects, Over production, waiting, neglected talent, transportation, inventory, motion, excess processing would be the equivalent wastes of lean but there is eight one in the form of neglected talent. What we have started doing, is we have started identifying lean as a focused exercise under our KAIZEN program. These key practitioners representing Delivery Excellence team have been educating their groups on these lean wastes and we see that there are quite a few lean projects where teams are analyzing their process flows to understand their value chain. Measures are taken up by these teams to optimize these wastes in their process. Part of this exercise we as an organization are able to realize good amount of Returns On Investment, and when our business stakeholders confidence for this focus on waste elimination. Also we have enhanced this program by optimizing the processes by automating those processes that are not adding value.

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Lean operation principles are derived from the lean manufactring practices.  This is very effective strategy first developed by Toyota.  The key focus of lean is to identify and eliminate wasteful actions that don't add value to customers in the manufactoring process. The concept of lean describe any process developed to a goal of near 100% value added with very few waste steps.  Waste is defined by president of Toyota what a waste is 'anything other than the minimum amount of equipment,  materials, parts, and worker time which are absolutely necessary to add value to the product.' there are 7types of waste defined but nowadays days 8th waste also taken into consideration which is identified as non utilisation of human talent.  


Whatever activities we are doing in our business undertakes a large proportion will create waste which is hidden or we don't try to see it at all.  This concepts applies whether your process is office based,  or in manufacturing company or in any Ware house.  In office lit of paper work is there,  need to do fax,  photocopy,  post and we waste all rather than this if we send all details by scanning game or email then it will save all paper work,  space for keeping all files,  manpower waiting time,  there was the of processing,  cost of stamp,  post all these we can save by doing electronic mail to the concerned person. 

Same case applies to manufacturing process,  our aim is to add values to a product that the customer will g to pay for it.  While doing so,  there are other tasks that must be done but don't add value which is called waste.  Waste is defined in terms of value because it is relative to customer needs.  So we need to identify all these waste in office as well as in manufacturing sector.  

This concept of lean,  identifying and eliminate 7waste is a continuous improvement project and we need to identify while applying to the process's.  First way to apply the concept identify all wastefully activities in the system.  We begin to investigate the value adding steps and cycle time in the process through a VALUE STREAM. MAPPING PROCESS. 

Another way to apply this concept in the organisation is to STANDARD WORK.  Standard work is a term used in lena production.  Standard work is work in which the sequence of job elements has been efficiently organised and is repeatedly followed by a team member. This will reduce process variation and improves performance. 

Now we will se one by one the ways to applying to reduce the waste of all types. 


                   Switch to quality assurance from quality control efforts.  Put all efforts to process right rather than I spectrum the results.  For eg I'm manufating company while on welding line,  there is fault coming In robot axis while welding and it welds the parts at wrong position and causing defect to next process,  so here rather than to focus on inspection of defective part we should do more focus on to rectify problem of robot axis while welding so that it will not generate any defect. 


2. Overproduction

Thus is also waste,  can be controlled by way to move from long setup of die on machines to SINGLE MINUTE DIE Exchange or do JIT.  To do preventive maintenance on time schedule so that problem will not come or repeat on line. 



                 Time that is not being g used effectively,  Force on why machines and operators are under utilised.  Why there is too long process to sign from a authorised person who is not available there in office. 



                       Time a machine operator waste walking around in order to get a spanner for some work. This is waste as nothing define at its place.  For eg on press machine some problem occurred while production in die so rather than to go to tool room for taking files,  hammer,  spanner again and again we can put all tool in a trolley near by machine so that time will not waste while unnecessary movement.  Same case applies to office work also.  So we review SPAGHETTI DIAGRAM where is the exact location of all and what is defined in the system and Improve the system if any abnormalities found. 



                              Moving items between area,  building is a type of waste if all stations,  building are part form each other.  For eg press shop suppling parts  to weld shop,  if both are part from each other then there is need of more manpower,  vehicles,  lifters,  pallets,  bins so all this waste.  It will be good to have location of all should be near to work station for fruitfully usage. 



                             In manufacturing industry having excess inventory is waste because need of all pallets,  space,  bin and cost of handling rework increase . so lower the inventory by doing process study and consumer. Tin of parts in next step. 



              Identify unnecessary steps while finishing the work and take c/m to remove all those steps and make it as simple as we can. 





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Originally, Every organization which tried to inculcate the lean culture, they should form a framework by showing the impacts of lean in each and every function of their organization, i.e. from Core Delivery to Support and enabling functions like Talent Acquisition, HR, RMG, Admin etc.,

Once the framework is finalized and approved by the sponsor, based on the VOB or financial statements, a priority order should be created to show which function to start with and the road map for next 6 to 12 months for lean inculcation. 

A governance team would be formed to review the progress on regular intervals along with the process owner, sponsor and the lean mentor. Once all the Push flow have been re engineered to Pull flow the continuous improvement will be in place.

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 There are 7 wastes in Lean which are referred to as Muda (in Japanese).  Let us quickly go through each one.



It talks about the non-productive time period due to lack of equipment,  material , human beings.   This can talk about any delayed arrival of materials or persons, or delay due to equipments broken. So resources would be idle till such time.

Eg: Waiting for a human resource to be available to fix an issue


Over Production: It refers to manufacturing an item before it is actually needed.  It relates to excessive accumulation of WIP of finished goods inventory.  It is the worst form of waste because it contributes to all the others.

Eg: Preparing unnecessary reports which may not be read at all


Rework (or Defects): This talks about the correction needed for fixing the mistakes, normally. These activities are waste of time.  

Eg 1: Fixing the bugs created in software code
Eg 2: Correction on made on the word documents – typo errors/spelling mistakes


Motion: It tells about the unnecessary movement of people and equipment

Eg: Extra data entry, extra steps ...


Over Processing:  This refers to non-value added tasks which customer would not be interested.  This could be because of poor design of the product/process.

Eg1: Any gold-plating work , like beautification of software code which is not required or not asked by customer
Eg:2 Sending unnecessary mails doing extra communication
Eg:3  Sending some data in multiple reports – duplicate effort


Inventory:  To keep stock of items , often in excess, than what is required .   

Eg 1:  Keeping stock of raw materials, in plenty (abundance) than what is needed for use.


Transportation: It refers to the unwarranted movement of materials, information..  Process Steps should be closely located to one another for minimal movement.

Eg 1:  Mail Forwarding to another persons ,  after missing to loop in those persons in the original email
Eg:2  Movement of files/papers  from one place to another place


Now as we have seen the 7 wastes of Lean , there is also another type of waste , which is often called as the 8th waste.  It talks about the underutilization of talent and skills. If we happen to address this waste, there is a chance that we can do well with the rest of the waste types.Having said that, let us see how we can make good use of these wastes .


 Let us take some of the wastes discussed above


Waiting:  Some IT applications might be quite complex and can involve multiple technologies.  In a typical enterprise based web application, the technologies involved could be relational database(s), server-side programming languages, application servers (which host the application), front-end/User Interface languages and programming scripts, messaging tools etc.,. Assume this application is in the development stage.  


Now we see a potential problem in the way how application is designed. This requires a technical architect to do a course correction as he is the technical Subject Matter Expert (SME).The design change is critical in ensuring  application scalability does not impact. Now assume that this architect is shared/utilized across multiple projects within a business unit of the organisation (which owns this application).  When he is needed for this project(application) to provide optimal design, he is not available as he is held up in another project for production implementation and would not be available for 2 days.  Now the project needs to wait for his presence and its worth waiting 2 days, since the architect would change the shape of the project (application) so that many users (Scalability) can be able to visit post the go-live period


2.Rework:  There are scenarios, where this may be required.
1.There could be changes on product /process design due to environmental conditions, government statutory
2.There could be rework due to a design flaw on product. Eg: A product might have sharp edges on it.  A consumer would have put a consumer case against it , after getting affected (hurt) by that. So consumer court would have instructed the company which produced the product to blunt the product’s edges.  This is a legal issue which definitely needs rework of the design.


3.Inventory:   Why this is needed?

i).In Software, the developers will always have a copy of the code that they had developed. Those codes would be available in a Version control system (Configuration management). But still developers retain that because they would like to see if that can be used in some other projects.  Also they want to see how their code looks changed when compared with the code in the version control system
ii). A Supermarket can operate in Push (having Inventory) and Pull type (Just-In-Time).  Some items can be fast moving and some items can move slow or have less demand.  So the super market can stock fast moving items which do not degrade over a period of time or for a considerable amount of time.


This goes to show how different type of wastes can be made use of!!


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The Seven Wastes of Lean Manufacturing are;

  • Transport
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Waiting
  • Over-Processing
  • Overproduction
  • Defects

Let us discuss a few of these in the context of IT organizations. The biggest waste in an IT company, in my opinion, is Waiting. Poor process design or poor requirement gathering and project planning leads to a situation where half of the team members are waiting for weeks to begin their work. This is wasted effort. Since deadlines usually do not get extended, these hapless souls are then forced to complete their part of the work in the remaining available timelines, leading to the second biggest waste - Defects. These defects lead to Rework to fix them and some of the defects might even get leaked to the customer. Another big waste in IT companies is Inventory (or what is called as Bench). This is the surplus capacity that companies build up and maintain so as to start new projects as soon as possible.

The key to improving organizational efficiencies is to get rid of these wastes by better planning. Team ramp up should be planned in such a way that team members would have work from their first day in the team. Upstream processes should have already generated enough input for them to work on by the time they join. This also gives sufficient time to the resource management teams to source the people, either from within the organization or from outside. In turn, this allows organizations to work with a lower bench capacity (or Inventory). Detailed planning and minute tracking is the key to eliminating these wastes and improving the profitability of the organization.

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Firstly, I would appreciate their interest in implementing concepts of Lean to eliminate wastes, but I would start with giving them a word of caution that implementing lean is not a onetime exercise but it needs to become a part of the organizational work culture. The management needs to stay committed and be ready to invest time and resources to small continuous improvement activities to see significant returns over time.


Without constant monitoring and proper practice, "wastes" will figure out a way to slowly creep back into the process.


If a “waste” in the process is evident, then that needs to be eliminated immediately.  But, most of the times, wastes in the process may not be readily visible. A detailed study of the AS-IS process would be required. Subsequently, detailed Value Stream mapping and Process mapping charts would need to be developed and analyzed.


Once I get the management buy-in and willingness to commit the time and resources, my recommendation, would be as follows:


1.       Implement 5S strategy (Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) in a selected area.

An implementation and practice of 5S would help to identify and bring out few wastes such as Waiting, Motion and Transport. These can be reduced/eliminated creating an organized, clean and high-performance workplace. 5S can provide some quick wins which would be encouraging and motivating to the management and team.


2.       Developing detailed Process Maps and Value Steam Maps and Identify Value Add/Non-Value Add/ Essential Non-Value Add or Business Value Add Steps - VA/NVA/ENVA(BVA).

The essence of lean implementation of Lean is to identify Value from a customer’s perspective and make all the processes in the system as much of a value add as possible. Any ENVA or BVA process must be optimized. All NVA are “Wastes” and should be removed.

Small continuous improvement (KAIZEN) activities should be designed and performed to improve the efficiency of the Value Add steps. With the incremental improvement, the “wastes” would automatically slowly decrement. If the efforts are aimed more at eliminating “wastes” then there is a possibility of introducing more NVA steps or working on improving the existing NVA steps. Hence, the efforts should be directed more towards improving Value Add steps.


3.       Developing Mistake proofing methods.

This would reduce or eliminate “waste” such as Rejects.

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The measures to use these waste may vary industry to industry. But viewing the bigger picture, it can be leveraged to bring discipline in the workplace. It'll not only bring healthy culture in the organization, but also improve the customer service. Some of the measures that could be taken is:

1. Training to the employees on how small changes can create a large impact in the organization

2. Maintaining records of SOP and following it; so that this act becomes culture & not people centric

3. Organizing events to reward teams who contributes more to this make reduction of wastage a success

4. Periodically asking employees about their observation on the waste aspect  and taking solutions for them and implementing it will make them feel more inclusive



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As Lean concept helps us to identify different forms of waste, we are also introduced to various Lean manufacturing techniques which guide us to eliminate or reduce waste and improve our profitability.


The famous Toyota production system has introduced techniques like  Kanban, Kaizen, 5S, JIT, Poka Yoke etc. in order to help us not only identifying waste but also eliminate waste. We will need to employ  one or multiple of these techniques within the organisation to eliminate or reduce waste. 

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I would thank them for giving me an opportunity to put forth my views on waste. To begin with i would observe and study the process and identify the different steps within the process and tag them as value added, deemed value added, non value added. 

Categorise the non value added activities into the different wastes (TIMWOODB), eliminate the NVA steps there by eliminating waste associated to these steps. Improve the process to minimise the wastes


Example: on a production floor have the plant layout in manner that there is less manual movement there by reducing the Transport 


Create a competitive environment to ensure continuous improvement there by minimising behavioural waste


And so on for each such waste.




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In order to improve profitability, efficiency and effectiveness, there is a continuous focus on eliminating all aspects of the manufacturing process or activity that add no value from your customers perpective

Starting with the PPAP to the lot approval and then manufacturing, everything we are doing to convert Raw material to finish goods dispatched to the customer or from approval of customer to be served in service industry, we have a conversion cost to it. Therefore the focus is to make product which is conformance to the  requirement of customer. Any activity which is not adding any value and can be eliminated should be done or any activity which is not adding value but cannot be eliminated at the same time should be minimised example (material handling, loading unloading...etc.) to remain in competition...

There can be any way by which we can find out and eliminate the waste even simple 5S activity is useful, other way like Value stream mapping, jidoka, automation, kaizen, simplifying process layout, training and awareness, motivation, breaking mind set of employees (which in my case was challenging though regarding productivity) by setting the targets as per capacity and monitoring the same through SLIM, balance scorecard, through suggestion box, benchmarking, work rotation TPM, OEE and there can be many combinations or by making Cross functional teams, projects

THANKS and regards

Atul sharma


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First of all we should create a team, this team will use this concept of  7 wastes of Lean in various department of the organisation . This concept will produce more effective results when we use it from macro level to micro level with precision and Accuracy. I was once a part of such team at my previous employer.

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Elimination of Waste is one of the most effective ways to increase the profitability of any business. Processes either add value or waste to the production of a good or service. Waste is something that adds no value. Muda is a Japanese word for waste. Seven Wastes have been identified in lean. Mnemonic used to remember Seven wastes is TIMWOOD (Transport, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Over-Processing, and Defects) Or WORMPIT (Waiting, Over Production, Rejects, Motion, Processing, Inventory, Transport).Two additional wastes have been identified which directly impacts the bottom line-Waste of Talent & Waste of resources

 To eliminate waste, it is important to understand exactly what waste is and where it exists.  Wastes are included within the cost of the products, either inflating the price you pay or reducing the profit of the company. A Companies Profit is selling price less costs incurred in manufacturing the product. Selling price is very much dictated by the market because if you charge too much or too little then you lose your customers so the only way to improve your profits is to reduce your costs that too by removing all waste from your processes.

In addition to improving your profits you will find that waste has a major impact on your customer’s satisfaction with your products and services. Customers want on time delivery, perfect quality and at the right price. Something that you cannot achieve if you allow the 7 wastes to persist within your processes.

To eliminate the seven wastes we should implement lean and various lean tools. Focus is to be put on improving the process keeping in mind the satisfaction of the end customer and indirectly dissolving waste. Non-value added processes as a result become much better and we stop doing activities which does not benefit the customer. Customers will pay for value added work, but never for waste.

Defect is one area which should be looked into first. Quality defects are a tremendous cost to organization as they result in rework and scrap. There are many associated costs like quarantining inventory, re-inspecting, rescheduling, and capacity loss. Through employee involvement and Continuous Process Improvement, one can try to reduce defects at many facilities. Other things to eliminate waste that can be looked into are Under utilization of employee skills, unsafe workplaces and environments, Lack of information or sharing of information and Equipment breakdown issues.

For each waste, there should be a strategy to reduce or eliminate its effect on the company, thereby improving overall performance and quality.




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My immediate question to the management is to understand the current pain areas. Will buy some time to do first level study to understand the various business that the organisation involves.

Post study make a pack and discuss about vision and mission statement , Scope to improve road blocks to achieve the vision and mission statement. discuss about 7 waste tool with example how it can benefit customer/organisation/culture of employees. and discuss their buy in, communication plans, risk & mitigation plans and implantation plans


in the Implementation Plan the following activities discussed with time lines

Schedule call with all PMs

Discuss about vision and mission

Pain areas

Discuss about the tool and benefits

identify the SPOC

Train the SPOC

identify the critical process

conduct process review (VA/NVA)


post review most of the process within all depts., prioritise the Conduct a session with management take their opinion before implementing the tool. 



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Firstly, I would acknowledge and thank for the opportunity provided and recommend the following

1.       Mark the 7 forms of waste,

2.       Prepare and look into the flow chart of the processes in the organization

3.       Identify the processes in which there is the 7 forms of waste / identify the potential chance for the occurrence of the 7 forms of waste

4.       Prepare a RPN score RPN = Severity*occurrence*detection, to identify the failures

5.       Identify the prioritized failures and make a list of potential projects

6.       Identify the project and do financial benefit analysis and make it the project

7.       Identify the causes for the occurrence of the identified waste

8.       Arrrive at the corrective actions, implement the corrective actions

9.       Verify the effectiveness of the actions

10.   Measure the waste reduction, if reduction is not appreaciable repeat the steps 7,8,9

11.   If the results are appreciable go back to step 5 and take up the next projects and repeat the steps 6 to 10

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At the onset I will appreciate the fact that the management acknowledges the concept of the 7 wastages!! This is the best place to start- The beginning!!

This needs to be a mission in the company and the management needs to nominate a “Sponsor” for this programme- The Champion for this mission.

The next steps of actions are as follows:

-          Identify the opportunities of wastages in the organisation-

 Wastages would be contributing negatively at different levels in different types processes

Along with the  seven wastages which includes Transportation, Defects/ Mistakes, Waiting, Motion, Overproduction, Over processing and Inventory, one must not undermine , probably, the most common and utmost damaging type of waste – Human Potential- Where, employees are not used to potential or / and spend time on tasks that are NVA. We must also consider it a waste of human potential when the management is not able to tap unexplored ideas of employees which can add to business excellence in the organisation- it could be because of ignorance or because of inability to harness talent.- This is a very significant step as identifying the waste will bring forth opportunities for improvement for the organisation and thus drive the organisation closer to becoming an efficient and cost effective organization.


-          Capture / Document the Opportunities to control Waste-

It would be prudent to encourage an open culture in the organisation where cascading groups- i.e groups at different levels of hierarchy in the organisation, are formed and brainstorming sessions are held for education on waste – types of waste and waste management. These session swill keep the employees motivated and involved in the “programme”. The forums will help to jot down / document the various wastages. Of late, there are various softwares available in the market which makes it easy to document wastages immediately on sight-.they are compatible to mobile devices also….handy when on the move or on the floor. Saves on lot of time by itself.


-          Enable and encourage crossfunctional collaborations-

It is very common in many organisations that most of the waste occurs in processes where different departments/ functions interconnect. Process linkages or handovers or task exchanges between functions leads to breakdown in process that lead to waiting, wasted motion and unnecessary movement. That is why alignment of all departments on the programme to reduce on the wastages is essential. The sponsor plays a major role here. He is the person who will collaborate all stakeholdesr , so that all speak the same improvement language and follow a standard procedure for planning, implementing / executing and then measuring the improvements.


-          Onus on ensuring Forward progress-

There should always be an lookout to make even the process of waste management efficient enough to avoid any scope of wastage that lies within- I would always tell the management/ sponsor to work on technology and effective ways to move on and develop the culture I the company. Though there can always be spreadsheets for managing efforts to reduce the “8 Wastages”, it is but known that spreadsheets are passive- They need to be referred to multiple time s by a person and thus dependency on “person” many a times leads to insignificant results. Hence, a Software can be used which will provide alerts and notifications that will keep people on their toes. It will also ensure that the managers / leads have access to reports/ MIS  and thus have visibility into the progress of all projects and can remove the roadblocks , if any.


-          Measure Results

This is the step that will help to understand the impact of efforts- measurement matrices can be Costs, Service time, Impact on Customer and profitability. Methods to calculate the improvement from the baseline needs to be planned.


-          Share Results and Recognise and reward efforts-

It goes without saying that a motivated workforce will only expedite and enhance the process


My closing note to the management would be to be observant and patient. It requires a lot of hard work and commitment to eliminate wastes, as most of the times wastages are caused by bad habits in the working style – It takes time for change to happen. I would advise for as much technology as is possible to be used in the process as a worthwhile software will make it easier than otherwise.  In today’s competitive market, given the less scope of profit margins in the QSR Industry,  If the Goals is to improve the services/ products and to improve the margins of profitability, then the effort towards reduction of waste is imminent and investing in technology is a justified call.


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Seven Wastes of Lean:

Waste is the one which doesn't add value to what customer pays.

Elimination of wastes in the below said 7 categories is important for any organization.

The 7 wastes consist of:

  1. Waiting
  2. Over Production
  3. Rejects
  4. Motion
  5. Processing
  6. Inventory
  7. Transport
1. Waiting

Whenever goods are ideal, just waiting for the next step to happen, it is a waste.  Much of a product’s lead time is tied up in waiting for the next operation; this is usually because material flow is poor, production runs are too long. The layout planning is not good. 

2. Overproduction

Overproduction is a waste actually to produce & keep before it is actually required. Overproduction is highly costly to a manufacturing plant. This creates excessive lead times, results in high storage costs, and makes it difficult to detect defects & makes it difficult to cope with demand changes.

3. Rejections or defects

Rejections are utterly called real wastes.  Reworking or even scraping are a tremendous cost to organizations. Associated costs include quarantining inventory, re-inspecting, rescheduling, and capacity loss. In many organizations the total cost of defects is often a very high percentage of total cost of manufacturing. Through employee involvement and Continuous Process Improvement (CPI), there is a huge opportunity to reduce defects at many facilities.

4.  Motion ( Unnecessary Motion)

This waste is related to ergonomics. Whenever a motion is useless or excess, it is a waste. It is seen in all physical movements such as bending, stretching, walking, lifting, and reaching. These are also health and safety issues. Jobs with excessive motion should be analyzed and redesigned for improvement with the involvement of plant personnel.

5. Processing (not appropriate Processing)

High asset utilization rather than low-cost automation. Improper layouts leads to in appropriate processing. Use of inappropriate techniques, use of over sized machines all causes the over processing.

Use of small and appropriate machines & equipment could avoid this waste.

6. Inventory

Work in Progress is a direct result of overproduction and waiting. Excess inventory tends to hide problems on the plant floor, which must be identified and resolved in order to improve operating performance. Excess inventory increases lead times, increases costs, consumes productive floor space, delays the identification of problems, and inhibits communication.

7. Transporting

Transport is the movement of materials from one location to another, this is a waste as it adds zero value to the product., resulting in another organizational cost that adds no customer value. Transportation can be difficult to reduce or avoid but by determining the right sequence of which processes should be next to each other.

Additional Wastes:

Waste of underutilized resources

Waste of underutilized talents

Waste of not using the knowledge & experience



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There are generally 7 types of Waste in Manufacturing as per lean. Some people use acronyms as WORMPIT or some people use as TIMWOOD.































  1. Transportation waste is the movement of material/information from one location to another and neither it adds any value to the product nor the customer would be happy in paying for it! It is not associated with a value adding process.


  • Intermediate product transfer from one functional area to another. ( e.g In soft drink filling process, Bottle blowing in one location and filling in another location rather blowing and filling in one location)
  • The use of material handling devices to move material from one machine to another within the facility rather making the process close to each other as close as possible.
  • Moving paper from place to place
  • Forwarding emails to one another rather than to the right authority and delaying the process in approval.

Best way to improve  

  • Lay out correction based on value stream mapping and process mapping – Reduce distance between the process as close as possible to ensure minimize movement without any significant delays in between one step to other.

  • Locate the suppliers/vendor near to the plants, which will help to eliminate huge distances transit with a potential for delay and damage.

  • Reduce multiple storage locations – Delivery from manufacturing facility to the intended usage location.

  • Make simple and efficient material handling system than lengthy and complex

2.    Waste of Inventory  is a liability that organization hold before its utilization. Purchased Raw materials , work in progress (WIP) and finished goods stocks that are held and not used or sold ,called inventory.

Inventory is identical to over-production except that it refers to the waste of acquiring raw material before the exact moment like just in time principle.  

More inventory directly proportional to more cash/space on hold and is not available for  use elsewhere for the business

However lean Manufacturing does not mean Zero Inventory. Excess inventory is waste. Needs to optimization .

Best way to improve  

·         Set pre-established limits/ safety inventory for the process and ensure that inventory is strictly limited and no supply activities are permitted when the inventory is at its pre-established limits.  --- Pre-establish limits

·         Make value flow at the pull of the customer, and implement the idea of Just in Time (JIT) production.  – Follow JIT

·         Look at the bottle neck equipment in the process and ensure the balancing of other machinery run to prevent the build up of excess production from the high speed machine and waste of inventory - Balance Workflow

·         Ensure First in and First out - FIFO

·         Reduce change over time – Switching one process/product to other

·         Strict adherence to the SOP

3.    Waste of Motion is any motion which does not add any value to the product or service. It could be the excessive movement of people or machines within the work space which does not transform the final output in anyway is a waste.


·         Extra Steps

·         Extra data entry

·         Searching for tools and equipment


Best way to improve

·         Implement 5S

·         Correction in work station lay out to reduce excessive walking  


4.    Waiting is an act of doing nothing or working slowly while waiting due to lack of material, people, or equipment or Waiting for work to arrive, previous cycles to finish, information or to be told what to do.


  • Operators / Machines standing idle as previous processes production to be sorted due to quality problems.

  • Waiting for previous operation to complete its cycle.

  • Waiting for a breakdown to be resolved.

  • Waiting for raw material/tools/forklift etc.

  • Waiting to be told which product is required next.


Best way to improve

·         Balancing the process and improving overall asset effectiveness

·         Implementing Preventive maintenance schedule / TPM etc

·         Implement Poka-yoke for mistake-proofing operations

·         Proper planning and communication on production schedule

·         Visual process management and SOP adherance


5.    Waste of Overproduction; producing too much than the requirements. Overproduction is the worst of the seven wastes as it conceals all of the other problems within processes.

Example :

·         Customer may need next month but we are producing and storing in warehouse based on tentative forecast

·         Preparing extra reports

·         Multiple copies in data storage

·         Over-ordering materials

·         Reports not acted upon or even read


Best way to improve

·         Make value stream mapping, process mapping

·         Balance supply to demand – work on JIT principle

·         Make the process reliable

·         Make batch size based on demand

6.    Over-Processing means any activity ,steps or material are being used without any value addition in the eyes of customer. It can be caused by not understanding the need of customer requirements or due to poor product or process design.

Example :

  • Reports containing  more information than the customer wants or needs

  • Several sign off

  • Painting areas that will never be seen or be affected by corrosion.

  • Story telling mails rather than point to point communication
  • Tolerances that are too tight.


Best way to improve

·         Implement 5 S

·         Standardize SOP and specification

·         Implement FMEA

·         Review the process gaps and bridge it with best and cheapest available solution

7    Rework or Correction or defects is the waste of handling and fixing mistakes , when products or service deviate from what the customer requires or the specification requires. This is common in both manufacturing and transactional settings


  • Incorrect components used due to incorrect, or missing instructions.
  • Faulty parts that have reached the customer
  • Incorrect data entry
  • Paying the wrong vendor
  • Misspelled words in communications
  • Making bad product or materials or labour discarded during production
  • Parts assembled with the incorrect orientation

Best way to improve

·         Implement Pokayoke that detect if a product is defective, either preventing the process from running or highlighting the defect for action.

·         Implement standard operations procedures (SOP) and training to ensure that the correct methods

·         Process capability study ,Root cause analysis and bridge the gaps

7 Waste concept.docx

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