Working papers

LEAN concept
Title: Seven waste in lean concept
Keywords: lean concept, waste reduction, improvement Slobodan Radicev PhD student Faculty of technical sciences, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

One of the key steps in Lean and TPS is the identification of which steps add value and which do not. By classifying all the process activities into these two categories it is then possible to start actions for improving the former and eliminating the latter. Some of these definitions may seem rather 'idealist' but this tough definition is seen as important to the effectiveness of this key step. Once value-adding work has been separated from waste then waste can be subdivided into 'needs to be done but non-value adding' waste and pure waste. The clear identification of 'non-value adding work', as distinct from waste or work, is critical to identifying the assumptions and beliefs behind the current work process and to challenging them in due course. The expression "Learning to see" comes from an ever developing ability to see waste where it was not perceived before. Many have sought to develop this ability by 'trips to Japan' to visit Toyota to see the difference between their operation and one that has been under continuous improvement for thirty years under the TPS. Shigeo Shingo, a co-developer of TPS, observed that it's only the last turn of a bolt that tightens it - the rest is just movement.1 This level of refined 'seeing' of waste has enabled him to cut car body die changeover time to less than 3% of its duration in the 1950s as of 2010. This period has allowed all the supporting services to adapt to this new capability and for the changeover time to undergo multiple improvements. These multiple improvements were in new technologies, refining value required by 'downstream' processes and by internal process redesigns.


A study of the Toyota Production System, Shigeo Shingo, Productivity Press, 1989, p 108

The following "seven wastes" identify resources which are commonly wasted. They were identified by Toyota's Chief Engineer, Taiichi Ohno as part of the Toyota Production System:2 Overproduction Overproduction happens each time you engage more resources than needed to deliver to your customer. For instance, large batch production, because of long change over time, exceeds the strict quantity ordered by the customer. For productivity improvement, operators are required to produce more than the customer needs. Extra parts will be stored and not sold. Overproduction is the worst muda because it hides or generates all others, especially inventory. 3 Overproduction increases the amount of space needed for storing raw material as well as finished goods. It also requires a preservation system. Unnecessary transportation Each time a product is moved it stands the risk of being damaged, lost, delayed, etc. as well as being a cost for no added value. Transportation does not make any transformation to the product that the consumer is supposed to pay for. Inventory Inventory, be it in the form of raw materials, work-in-progress (WIP), or finished goods, represents a capital outlay that has not yet produced an income either by the producer or for the consumer. Any of these three items not being actively processed to add value is waste. Motion As compared to Transportation, Motion refers to the producer, worker or equipment. This has significance to damage, wear and safety. It also includes the fixed assets and expenses incurred in the production process. Defects Whenever defects occur, extra costs are incurred reworking the part, rescheduling production, etc. Over-processing Over-processing occurs any time more work is done on a piece than what is required by the customer. This also includes using tools that are more precise, complex, or expensive than absolutely required. Waiting


Toyota Production System, Ohno, Taiichi, 1988, Productivity Press


Whenever goods are not in transport or being processed, they are waiting. In traditional processes, a large part of an individual product's life is spent waiting to be worked on.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful