8 Wastes

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Waste, which is called “Muda” in Japan, is the primary focus of Lean Manufacturing. There are eight identified wastes that occur in any manufacturing facility. There was seven identified wastes but the eighth waste of intelligence was added later. Most untrained professionals identify waste with bad product, but there are many other wastes occurring throughout the day in the facility.

The eight wastes are:

  1. Waiting
  2. Inventory
  3. Transportation
  4. Overproduction
  5. Overprocessing
  6. Intelligence
  7. Motion
  8. Rejects/Scrap

The waste of waiting occurs in almost every manufacturing and service function. Whenever any employee is waiting for something, it is costing the company money. Not only is the labor cost per unit higher, machinery is often idle while the wait occurs. If the machinery is not running, it is not being operated at full capacity, reducing OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) and the company is losing efficiency and potential sales dollars.

Inventory is one of the largest wastes in any industry. Inventory waste comes in the form of raw material, work in process, and finished goods. It costs money to purchase the inventory that could be used for necessary items. Inventory has a chance to become obsolete. It takes up space and potentially causes inefficient operation. Every operation needs some amount of inventory, but through employing Lean Manufacturing concepts, the company can reduce it to the minimum amount necessary.

Transportation is another large waste. One example is movement of product through the plant. Mapping the flow of product helps identify some of the transportation waste, as the movement of product often requires transportation.

Overproduction waste is a very large waste because not only is material lost but the labor that was put into converting it and the time spent by equipment producing it.

Overprocessing occurs in many industries. One form of overprocessing is adding more value to the product than the customer wants, needs, or is willing to pay for.

An example of the waste of intelligence is not involving everyone in the business for improvement. Operators often have years of experience and know what could be done to improve the business, but often are never involved. Lean Manufacturing implementation is most successful involving everyone in the business improvement, including operators.

Any scrap, defect, or reject is obviously waste.

The waste of motion also occurs in every manufacturing and service industry. One small example is looking for something.

The goal of Lean Manufacturing is to achieve 100% waste reduction in the system. The “Eight Wastes” helps us identify and eliminate it.

The lean manufacturing online course module on waste teaches how to find and eliminate each of the eight wastes.