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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 »
How Synchronizing Workflows Eliminates Waste in Development Processes
By: Jim Morgan | June 1, 2021
GE Appliances and Caterpillar leaders share the practices that help them synchronize workflows, which helped their companies reduce waste and significantly improve development performance. More »
Combat the Ninth Waste of Overthinking
By: Dan Prock | May 25, 2021
Overthinking should be considered yet another form of waste that true lean practice can identify and eliminate, argues Dan Prock, who shares tangible ways you can think about the right things. More »
Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 8: Processing
By: Art Smalley | December 11, 2020
Understand the two aspects of the waste that requires a careful understanding of customer requirements. Watch the final part of an eight-part series focusing on the seven classic forms of waste from the Toyota Production System by Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Incorporated. More »
Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 7: Defects
By: Art Smalley | December 4, 2020
Though he's calling the waste of defects the sixth waste in this series, Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Incorporated, says you should consider it the first--or worst--form of waste in some situations. Learn when and why. More »
Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 6: Waiting
By: Art Smalley | November 13, 2020
Learn how to spot what Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Incorporated, thinks is the most annoying form of waste. More »
Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 5: Motion
By: Art Smalley | November 6, 2020
Watch this quick tutorial about how to see the waste of motion in your work, from Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Incorporated. More »
Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 4: Excess Conveyance
By: Art Smalley | October 30, 2020
Learn the finer points of how to eliminate the waste of excess conveyance from your work process from Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Incorporated. More »
Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 3: Excess Inventory
By: Art Smalley | October 23, 2020
Take a closer look at the various types of inventory, with an eye toward identifying waste, with your guide, Art Smalley, president, Art of Lean, Incorporated. More »
Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 2: Overproduction
By: Lean Leaper | October 16, 2020
Take a closer look at and gain an in-depth understanding of the waste overproduction with Art of Lean, Incorporated President Art Smalley. More »
Beware the Comforts of Waste
By: Rose Heathcote | August 13, 2020
After a major move, lean thinker Rose Heathcote reflected that with lean thinking comes the responsibility to look inward at oneself before looking outward to what must change in the organization. It may sit in the fundamental thinking we have adopted regarding business and costs, but it also gets more personal in how we treat and nurture our talent. 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: William Journigan and James Phillips Jr. | 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 »
What Is Information Waste?
By: Bell, Steve and Orzen, Mike | September 2, 2011
Excess information -- in our inboxes, hard drives, shared drives, intranet sites, data warehouses, etc.  , -- is waste. This unnecessary "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 examples 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? More »
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