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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Waste:   Any activity that consumes resources but creates no value for the customer. Most activities are waste—muda—and fall into one of two types. Type one muda creates no value but is unavoidable with current technologies and production assets. An example would be inspecting welds to ensure they are safe. Type two muda creates no value and can be eliminated immediately. An example is a process with disconnected steps in process villages that can be quickly reconfigured into a cell where wasteful materials movements and inventories no longer are required. Most value-stream activities that actually create value as perceived by the customer More »
7 Wastes:   see Seven Wastes
Seven Wastes:   Taiichi Ohno’s categorization of the seven major wastes typically found in mass production: Overproduction: Producing ahead of what’s actually needed by the next process or customer. The worst form of waste because it contributes to the other six. Waiting: Operators standing idle as machines cycle, equipment fails, needed parts fail to arrive, etc. Conveyance: Moving parts and products unnecessarily, such as from a processing step to a warehouse to a subsequent processing step when the second step instead could be located immediately adjacent to the first step. Processing: Performing unnecessary or incorrect processing, typically from poor tool or product design. More »
Waste in Process: Squeeze Before You Lean
By: Andrew Quibell | July 21, 2016
Columns
"It seems intuitive to start applying lean to our processes, right?" writes Andrew Quibell. "Maybe so, but all that says to me is that we're short-sighted when applying lean.  " How so, you ask? Read more. More »
Waste Walk Template (from Perfecting Patient Journeys)
By: Lean Transformations Group | January 29, 2013
Forms and Templates
It is a maxim in lean thinking that to fix any problem you must first see the waste. However, the longer you have worked in a system, the harder it is to see the waste around you. Taking a “waste walk” is one way to make the waste visible again. A waste walk is simply a planned visit to where work is being performed to observe what’s happening and to note the waste. It differs from go-see activities in that you are specifically looking for waste. Common objectives for your waste walks include: Validate the problems pointed out in the More »
Waste-Free Capitalism
By: Michael Ballé | July 24, 2013
Columns
In his first piece for The Lean Post, lean thought leader and LEI author Michael Ballé shares Toyota's lessons for society at large and calls for a rethink to capitalism as we know it. More »
Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!)
By: Lean Leaper | December 1, 2016
Columns
If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Some forms of waste are easier to eliminate - others are so hard that they start to blur the line between "challenging" and "enraging.  " Today we feature three experienced lean practitioners with the most frustrating types of waste they've encountered, plus their favorite tips for eliminating them. More »
Conveyance: The Perfect Place for Waste
By: Andrew Quibell | May 12, 2016
Columns
In the latest installment of his series of sketches and animations covering areas of waste in manufacturing, Andrew Quibell gives us a look at conveyance. "We all know that moving materials provides zero value to the customer or ourselves," he writes. "It's the perfect place for waste to hide.  " Read more. More »
Cost Reduction, Waste, and Purpose
By: Katrina Appell | July 18, 2014
Columns
"Eliminating waste makes it easier to see and find problems, which is the first step to solving them," writes Katrina Appell. "It removes frustrations, which improves worker and customer satisfaction.  " More »
Dentist Drills Down to the Root Causes of Office Waste
By: Chet Marchwinski | May 7, 2007
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images
Applying lean concepts to dentistry isn't as difficult as, well, pulling teeth. Dr. Sami Bahri, driven by a gut feeling that the traditional method of managing a dental office could be improved dramatically, educated himself and his staff in the concepts, validated the approach in pilot projects, then transformed his office. His journey just might transform the way you look at a dentist's office. (The Seven Wastes entry in the short Glossary at the end of the story has examples from Bahri's staff.  ) More »
Find One Second of Waste
By: Richardson, Tracey | February 23, 2012
Articles
Coach Tracey Richardson shows you how she learned the importance of looking for waste everywhere, and how you can start being focused on finding it as well.    More »
Finding and Eliminating Waste in R&D
By: Terry Barnhart | September 10, 2015
Columns
If you are lean practitioner in R&D, minimizing re-learning, maximizing the quality of thinking, and re-casting your view of failure can rapidly improve the quality and speed of your innovation. More »
Generating Multiple Alternatives is Not Necessarily Waste
By: Katrina Appell | May 18, 2016
Columns
"I was once asked: 'How is set-based design lean? Isn’t designing multiple alternatives creating waste and the opposite of lean?'” writes Katrina Appell. It's true that generating multiple alternatives can seem like waste, especially since only one alternative will be used. But the reality is much different - read more. More »
Gross Domestic Product Verses Gross Domestic Waste
By: Womack, Jim | October 23, 2006
Columns; eLetters
I’ve always been fascinated by how humans count, especially the way we always seem to count the wrong things. Recently I was looking at the American counting of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The U.  S. government reports that GDP was up 2.  6% in the second quarter of 2006, after rising 5.  8% in the first quarter, and the economists offering commentary seem to think this is good. We are producing more product per capita, meaning economic output is growing faster than population. But growth has slowed recently toward a level that can be sustained without causing inflation. Governments in More »
Inventory Waste: The "Hidden Killer" in Manufacturing
By: Andrew Quibell | April 13, 2016
Columns
Andrew Quibell is back with the next sketch in his series on the four main areas of waste in manufacturing. Today's area: Inventory, the "hidden killer.  " Check out the sketch plus a fun animated video Andrew made to help illustrate the concept. More »
Lean concepts that help you eliminate waste and create flow in your own work
By: Markovitz, Dan | June 25, 2013
Articles; Videos and Webinars
Lean Enterprise Institute faculty member Dan Markovitz, an expert on improving personal performance, explains how the lean principles of 5S and visual management make you more productive as a knowledge worker. More »
Reducing Wasted Motion at a Conference: Collaborative Note Taking
By: Mark Graban | February 12, 2014
Columns
Mark Graban reflects on the pros and cons of collaborative note-taking at conferences and offers up an invitation/experiment to Lean Transformation Summit attendees. More »
The Biggest Waste of All
By: Brent Wahba | September 18, 2014
Columns
"We can fix [problem symptoms] with basic lean thinking and tools, but unless our strategy is good, we will still create tremendous amounts of waste for our customers, employees, suppliers, and investors," says Brent Wahba. Why? "Because everyone is running faster and faster… in the wrong direction.  " More »
The Hidden Waste in Inspection
By: Andrew Quibell | June 29, 2016
Columns
When looking for areas of muda, your inspection department probably isn't the first place that comes to mind. But you may be surprised to find out that inspection is waste by its very nature. In his third installment of his series on areas of waste in manufacturing, Andrew Quibell breaks down this problem and illustrates the true solution to eliminating defects. More »
The Manufacturing Waste Series: Introduction
By: Andrew Quibell | March 3, 2016
Columns
In the first installment of his new series on waste, Andrew Quibell's latest sketch introduces his take on why kaizen efforts often fail to achieve anything long-term. Read more to find out what he pegs as the culprit, and get a preview of the series to come! More »
The Virginia Mason Production System: So Much Waste, So Little Time
By: Iseman, Marnee | August 16, 2009
Videos and Webinars
In this 53-minute video, Marnee Iseman from Virginia Mason talks about the Virginia Mason Production System to a group at the University of Wisconsin. More »
What Does "Waste" in Government Processes Mean Anyway?
By: James Phillips Jr. and William Journigan | October 8, 2014
Columns
"It is commonplace in the US Federal Government to see placards and signs admonishing us to be on guard for instances of 'Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (FWA)'.  .. [Whole] offices are devoted to reporting FWA violations," write James Phillips and Willie Journigan. But what constitutes waste in government processes? How do you identify and tackle it? More »
What Is Information Waste?
By: Bell, Steve and Orzen, Mike | September 2, 2011
Articles
Excess information -- in our inboxes, hard drives, shared drives, intranet sites, data warehouses, etc.  , -- is waste. This unnecesssary "inventory" causes congestion, delays, inefficiency, errors, and rework, note Steve Bell and Mike Orzen in Lean IT. In this excerpt from their book, the authors offer exampes of info waste and advice on identifying and eliminating it. More »
Should I pursue waste elimination or lead-time reduction?
By: Balle, Michael | May 6, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, We’re having a heated debate in our company over whether to pursue cost reduction through waste elimination by accelerating kaizen events, or whether to focus on lead-time reduction by implementing a pull system. It appears to me we’re not clear on the link between waste and lead-time. Could you help us clarify this? This is absolutely the right question to ask and the answer is … overproduction. Please bear with me while I try to clarify why overproduction is considered the worst of wastes, the original lean sin, and how this relates to lead-time. This is a More »
3 Tips for Accurately Assessing Your Current State
By: Drew Locher | April 7, 2016
Columns
"Just because everyone remembers to include the current state [on a value stream map] doesn’t mean it’s always done as well it could be," writes Drew Locher. And he's right. In his latest piece for the Lean Post, Drew shares three tips for avoiding common current-state problems on your value stream maps. More »
6 Ways to Lay the Groundwork for More Effective Meetings
By: Thomas Stratton | September 1, 2015
Columns
"Even in organizations working hard in pursuit of lean production systems [and] employee capability development – the failure to host effective meetings is all too common," writes Thomas Stratton. "It’s a drag on productivity and a key source of frustration.  " Read more. More »
And You Forgot About Overproduction
By: Shook, John | March 23, 2009
Columns; eLetters
John Shook discusses waste - specifically, overproduction More »
Ask Art: Is Lean Inward-Focused?
By: Art Byrne | September 15, 2016
Columns
Art Byrne has been asked over and over if lean is inward-focused or customer-focused. There are aspects of lean that may suggest otherwise at a glance, but Art is firm in his belief that lean is far from inward-focused. Read more. More »
Beyond Lean: Towards Compression Thinking
By: Robert W. (Doc) Hall | May 28, 2014
Columns
"Lean thinkers make things better by framing issues as Problems," writes Doc Hall. "Yet today our great challenges transcend corporate Problems. The core Problems confronting the entire global community call for thinking that goes beyond what we consider 'Lean.  '" More »
Boatloads of Muda
By: Ken Eakin | April 12, 2016
Columns
Ken Eakin saw his fair share of waste during his 13 years in the ocean-shipping industry, especially in the transportation process. Now a lean coach, he looks back on some of the industry's most common wasteful practices and shares some lean tips and logic for avoiding them. If your lean work involves transportation, we're willing to bet you'll find something to relate to! Read more. More »
How to Make Your Supplier Your Lean Partner
By: Randy J. Dobbs | September 19, 2014
Columns
Lean practitioner Randy Dobbs says working with suppliers to improve the extended value stream of his company has been one of the most rewarding aspects of his career. Read Dobbs' advice on how to work effectively with suppliers. More »
Improvement for the Sake of Improvement Means Nothing
By: Dave LaHote | April 4, 2014
Columns
"We need to dig deep to understand why we do what we do and question whether it really provides value to anyone.  " Read the story of how one company found itself trying to improve a process that shouldn't have existed in the first place. More »
Is there “mudagement” in your organization?
By: Tony Lamberton and Lean Leaper | June 15, 2016
Columns
"Mudagement.  " What a strange word. But to Tony Lamberton, the concept behind that word has made all the difference in identifying invisible waste in his organization - and by extension, eliminating it through targeted coaching. Lean Post editor Cam Ford recently sat down with Tony to learn more about the concept of mudagement and the value it holds for all organizations: here is their interview. More »
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