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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.  Inventory: More »
Waste in Process: Squeeze Before You Lean
By: Andrew Quibell | July 21, 2016
"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 »
The Eight Wastes of Lean
By: Jean Cunningham | January 28, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Originally there were seven wastes identified by Taiichi Ohno for the Toyota Production System. As lean evolved into the rest of the enterprise and around the world, an eighth waste, non-utilized talent, was identified. I and others use an acronym, “DOWNTIME”, to help remember the wastes. More »
Are morning team huddles that go on forever a waste of time?
By: Michael Ballé | January 20, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Our company has made morning team huddles mandatory. I don't see how that helps. On my team, huddles seem to go on forever and feel like a waste of time. Are they? More »
Reducing Waste and Ignorance
By: Jean Cunningham | September 17, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Process and value stream mapping are two of the most effective lean tools—in addition to going to the gemba to see work happen—that I use to try to combat ignorance and see the true state of the matter at hand. More »
12 Wastes of Product & Process Development
By: Katrina Appell and John Drogosz | August 2, 2019
The wastes found in manufacturing are well known and relatively visible. But as you move upstream into the very different realm of product development, wastes become harder to see but are just as prevalent. This list of a "dirty dozen" PD wastes, courtesy of Katrina Appell and John Drogosz, will open your eyes. More »
How Accounting “Squirrels” Can Ferret Out Waste
By: Jean Cunningham | March 15, 2019
While other functions are busy as beavers looking for waste during a lean transformation, your accounting staff is like a squirrel with its head stuck in a yogurt cup. They only see the traditional work right in front of them instead of digging into data for buried “nuts” of waste, says Jean Cunningham, LEI’s new executive chairman. More »
Thinking About Waste Helps Build A Learning Culture Everywhere
By: Sammy Obara | July 27, 2018
Developing people to reduce waste in everything from using toilets to saving one second of work is key to creating a learning platform, says Sammy Obara. More »
Build Awareness Through Seeing How Eliminating Waste Reduces Costs
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | July 12, 2018
As we grow our people we must continue to add new dimensions of thinking to engage them in their work and to empower them to always be looking for or trying new ideas, says Tracey Richardson. Building awareness of how to reduce costs forms a foundation for continued improvement. More »
Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!) II
By: Rick Guba and Peg Pennington | October 17, 2017
If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Today we feature two experienced lean educators with the most frustrating types of waste they've encountered, plus their favorite tips for eliminating them. More »
Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!)
By: Ken Eakin, John McCullough and Angela O'Hara | December 1, 2016
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 »
The Hidden Waste in Inspection
By: Andrew Quibell | June 29, 2016
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 »
Conveyance: The Perfect Place for Waste
By: Andrew Quibell | May 12, 2016
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 »
Inventory Waste: The "Hidden Killer" in Manufacturing
By: Andrew Quibell | April 13, 2016
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 »
The Manufacturing Waste Series: Introduction
By: Andrew Quibell | March 3, 2016
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 »
What Does "Waste" in Government Processes Mean Anyway?
By: James Phillips Jr. and William Journigan | October 8, 2014
"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 »
The Biggest Waste of All
By: Brent Wahba | September 18, 2014
"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 »
Cost Reduction, Waste, and Purpose
By: Katrina Appell | July 18, 2014
"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 »
Reducing Wasted Motion at a Conference: Collaborative Note Taking
By: Mark Graban | February 12, 2014
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 »
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 »
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 »
Ask Art: Why Do Most Companies Think Of Lean as Just a Cost Reduction Program?
By: Art Byrne | July 15, 2020
We shouldn’t be surprised at all that most companies approach lean as a cost reduction program, when it really is better understood as a time-based growth strategy, says Art Byrne, who points out the strategic benefits that accrue to companies practicing lean completely. More »
Ask Art: Does Lean Really Work Beyond Manufacturing?
By: Art Byrne | May 22, 2020
Lean certainly applies beyond manufacturing, explains Art Byrne, who shares the dramatic gains at a life insurance company as a way of teaching broadly applicable principles for a lean turnaround. More »
Why Lean Remains A Superior Business Model and Way of Thinking
By: Daniel T. Jones | March 13, 2020
The lean business model offers an alternative to conventional thinking, says Dan Jones. He argues that it achieves a premium price by being better at helping customers to meet their needs and retaining them, rather than dominating markets and controlling customers. More »
Standardization Can Set You Free
By: Karen Gaudet | February 21, 2020
It is only through actually standardizing the routine work elements by applying a common method of thinking, that enables true problem solving and drives innovation. Along the journey to standardizing the work as a leader you are faced to grapple with preconceived notions and urban legends that likely have long caused struggle for your team. More »
Ask Art: What Are the Most Important Management Changes Needed to Implement A Lean Turnaround?
By: Art Byrne | February 19, 2020
Lean thinking requires a totally different mindset than traditional management, argues lean veteran Art Byrne. This is probably the most significant reason that companies fail to make the lean leap. They simply can’t get rid of their traditional mindset. Here he shares the key changes needed for a successful lean turnaround. More »
Why We Believe that Pull Flows Are Too Often Overlooked
By: Lean Sensei Women | January 29, 2020
In this incisive series of articles on the essential value of pulled flow, the lean sensei women argue, in the words of Catherine Chabiron, that pulled flows are not just a manufacturing fad. It is the only way we know to dig deeper into our jobs, collaborate better, and eventually face all the real problems. More »
Working Hard...For One Minute
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | January 24, 2020
Anyone who doubts the ability of their people to work hard in enacting change--or who blames problems on their "people" should look hard in the mirror, says lean veteran Orry Fiume. More »
Does A Lack Of Physical Inventory Make Office Work “Different”?
By: Ken Eakin | January 10, 2020
While "waste" is easy to see and address in a factory setting, people working in an office environment have just as much to gain from learning how to reduce excess inventory and other forms of waste, says Ken Eakin. More »
Why Lean is a Time-based Strategy
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | November 22, 2019
Lean is a time-based strategy: it uses time to gain competitive advantage, says Orry Fiume. "Once I understood this I started saying “Time is the currency of lean”.  " More »
Ask Art: At What Pace Should A Lean Turnaround Be Implemented?”
By: Art Byrne | October 9, 2019
Changing from a traditional batch, make-the-month culture to a lean value driven culture takes a lot of time and effort, says Art Byrne. The faster you go, the sooner you willsee the enormous benefits of lean. Also, the faster you go the less backsliding you will see and the changes will become permanent. So be bold, go as fast as you can. More »
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