Lean Manufacturing: the 8 Deadly Wastes with examples

Lean Manufacturing: the 8 Deadly Wastes with examples

Wastes are all those activities/entities which can be removed from the workflow stream without impacting its productivity negatively, simply, anything that does not add value to the customer is a waste, Lean focuses on 8 types of wastes commonly referred to as ‘TIMWOODS’. In the following section we will summarize with examples each of these wastes.

1. Transportation:

Often resources like people, raw materials, and final products are moved from one place to another but no value is added to the product. Of course not all transportation is waste, but the unnecessary transportation adds expense and risk to processes without adding value. Examples of the waste of transportation include:
*Multiple hand-offs
*Excessive e-mail attachments
* Sending unsold products from the store back to the warehouse
*Ordering products from distant vendor when closer one is available
*Moving patients from one room to another in a hospital
*Moving equipment from one construction site to another
*Client having to walk between buildings, floors, etc. to get services

Creating an efficient flow of work and enforcing WIP limits can help avoid this kind of waste.


2. Inventory:

Having more inventory than needed gives rise to many problems, companies usually hold more inventories than they require to handle unexpected customer demands or unexpected material supply shortage. Excess inventory causes problems like defects, inefficient capital allocation, and overhead costs for storage, it can also lead to wasted transportation and motion. Besides the obvious idea of unsold products sitting in a warehouse, the waste of inventory can be found in lots of places:
* Documents awaiting to be processed
*Unused office supplies
*Too much bedside equipment in a hospital
*Stacks of promotional literature or pre-printed forms
*Overstocked supplies or outdated supplies, files, etc.
*Applications on your desktop that you never use

You can cut down excess inventory by:
-Purchasing raw materials only when needed and in the quantity needed
-Reducing buffers (WIP) between production steps
-Creating a queue system

3. Motion:

This categorizes the unnecessary movement of goods and employees. In essence, workers need to be given an environment where their movement is minimized, this should be considered during designing processes area, In the office setting, putting people who work closely together, and ergonomically placing other equipment reduces this kind of waste.
Here are a few examples:
*Looking for data and information
*Software that requires 10 clicks to get to the screen you want
*Walking from the front of the office to back of office to get something
*Printers and other equipment that are not conveniently located
*Inadequately stocked examination rooms

4. Waiting:

Products and tasks need to be in constant movement. If this is not happening, then waiting occurs. People and processes often wait because the next process isn’t ready for them yet, or they don’t have the necessary inputs to act.

*Machine waiting for maintenance
*QA engineers waiting for code to be developed
*Emergency room patients waiting for test results
*Airplanes waiting for a gate to open up
*Queue in a grocery store
*Patients waiting for a doctor at a clinic
*System downtime


5. Overproduction:

All products that the customer is not going to pay for can be categorized as overproduction and hence can be considered a waste, so to keep producing as many products as possible when there is idle time is not a good idea, Businesses are careful not to create products before there is demand

*Information sent automatically even when not required
*Printing documents before they are required
*Processing items before they are required by the next person in the process
*Staff meetings held when it could have been shared in an email
*Huge meals in restaurants *Overstaffing of flu clinic when it isn’t flu season
*Multiple forms with same information

Enforcing strict work-in-progress limits and following the just-in-time philosophy can help avoid overproduction waste.

6. Over-processing:

It refers to doing more work or having more steps in a product or service than what is necessary. All the work which consumes effort and resources but doesn’t add any additional value or add a value that the customer will not pay for is considered over-processing, here’s what it looks like:

*Too many approvals
*Same data required in number of places in an application form
*Reports reviewed by multiple people or multiple sign-offs
*Passing customer calls around (phone musical chairs) *Software features that no one ever uses
*An MRI when an X-ray would suffice

Understand the work requirements from a customer’s standpoint to eliminate the wastes of over-processing.

7. Defects:

Defects need to be corrected by working on the product again. In some cases, defects lead the products to be directed towards the scrap. For the purpose of rework, additional space, time, logistics, and manpower are required which leads to a loss in productivity.

*Charts or reports with incorrect or incomplete information
*Inaccurate data entered into computer, on reports, etc.
*Mislabeled containers, forms, reports, etc.
*Software with bugs that has to be re-coded
*Misdiagnoses in healthcare that lead to unnecessary tests or treatment
*Products that are shipped to the wrong address


8. Non-utilized talent:

Employees not leveraged to their own potential, the resources are not properly utilized in the form of people’s experience, skills, knowledge or creativity where employees unable to make decisions, skilled employees do an unskilled task.
*Limited authority and responsibility
*Person put on a wrong job
*Employees do not have the opportunity to learn new skills or utilize hidden ones
*Employees are not involved in process improvement
*Workers are not given the chance to advance within the company




Reference: IRGST
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