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Eight Wastes

Lean philosophy dictates anything that does not add value to a process or product, or that the customer is unwilling to pay for, is waste and should be eliminated. Each step of a process in the production of a good or service either adds value or waste to the end product. Ultimately, the elimination of waste increases an organization’s productivity and profit.

The 8 wastes within the Lean philosophy are discussed below along with office and manufacturing examples.

  1. DefectWork that contains errors or lacks something necessary
    • Office Examples
      • Incorrect information being shared
      • Data entry errors
      • Forwarding incomplete documents
    • Manufacturing Examples
      • Scrap
      • Rework
      • Missing parts
  2. OverproductionProducing more materials or information than customer demand
    • Office Examples
      • Creating reports no one reads/needs
      • Making extra copies
      • Providing more information than needed
    • Manufacturing Examples
      • Producing more products than demand
      • Batch process resulting in extra output
      • Having a “push” production system
  3. WaitingIdle time created when material, information, people or equipment is not ready
    • Office Examples
      • Ineffective meetings
      • Waiting for meetings to start
      • Files awaiting signatures/approvals
    • Manufacturing Examples
      • Waiting for tools, parts, information
      • Broken machines waiting to be fixed
      • Raw materials not ready
  4. Not Utilizing TalentNot, or under, utilizing the talent of employees
    • Office Examples
      • Insufficient training
      • High absenteeism and turnover
      • Inadequate performance
    • Manufacturing Examples
      • Employing people in the wrong position
      • Not fully training employees
      • Missing improvements by failing to listen to employees
  5. TransportationMovement of materials or information that does not add value
    • Office Examples
      • Hand carrying paper to the next process
      • Delivering unneeded documents
      • Going to get signatures
    • Manufacturing Examples
      • Moving products around before shipping
      • Moving product from different workstations
      • Moving inventory around to take stock
  6. InventoryExcess materials on hand that the customers or employees do not need right now
    • Office Examples
      • Purchasing excessive office supplies
      • Searching for computer files
      • Obsolete files or office equipment
    • Manufacturing Examples
      • More finished products than demand
      • Extra materials taking up work space
      • Broken machines sitting around
  7. MotionMovement of people that does not add value
    • Office Examples
      • Searching for files
      • Walking/reaching to get materials
      • Sifting through inventory to find what is needed
    • Manufacturing Examples
      • Reaching to make adjustments
      • Walking to get a tool multiple times
      • Repetitive movements that could overwork/injure an employee
  8. Extra ProcessingEfforts that do not provide value from the customer's perspective
    • Office Examples
      • Unnecessary signatures on a document
      • Making more copies of a document than will be needed
      • Saving multiple copies of the same file in multiple locations
    • Manufacturing Examples
      • Adding unneeded value to a product
      • Using a more high-tech machine than needed
      • Extra steps to correct avoidable mistakes

Pawley Lean Institute

Pawley Hall, Room 460K
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-4542