Empowering Lean Solutions for Everyone

Seven Wastes

On this page we’ll try to understand the general picture of the seven wastes and look at some training material.

What are the seven wastes?

In no particular order, here they are:

Overproduction – producing more than the demand – by far, the worst form of waste

Inventory – too much raw material work-in-process, finished products

Transportation – material movement between operations, when not necessary

Motion – people or equipment moving more than required

Correction – making and fixing bad parts

Over Processing – process steps not required by customer or used to fix a poor design

Waiting – people waiting for material or machines to be repaired, etc.

Resources – under-utilizing the potential of your people (OOOPS, this is waste number 8; but it makes sense, don’t you think?)

There is a Seven Wastes Walk Check-sheet if you’d like to use one to write down all the wastes you see.

Just go to the plant floor and take a look at a particular activity going on there. Question in your mind all the steps going on.

Just go to the plant floor and take a look at a particular activity going on there. Question in your mind all the steps going on.

  • Why is the part bin sitting in the middle of the aisle?
  • Why is the worker turning, walking and bending to grab a part?
  • Why is the tool placed above the shoulder?
  • Why is the inspection table placed in the corner?
  • What is the worker waiting for now?
  • Where are the parts coming from?
  • How does the worker know he’s making a good part?
  • How is the worker calling for help?

There are so many things to see and questions to ask….You’ll be amazed at how much WASTE you can see just by looking.

Seven Wastes Training

There is training available from consulting companies.

You can have them come to the plant or you can attend workshops yourself. It may be part of the lean overview training package.

If you are interested in a presentation and workshop instructions please visit the 7 Wastes Simulation page.

Basically, the training involves presenting succinctly the Seven Wastes and then, asking the team to split in small groups that would be assigned to look at a particular operation or activity and try to capture on paper specific types of waste.

And periodically you can send people in the plant with a Seven Wastes check sheet to study a particular operation or just walk around and write down what they see that might be a wasteful aspect.

Learning to see the waste is an extra bonus for the value stream mapping activity in addition to the 5S implementation.

Sometimes I feel that I should look at the world like my daughter does and ask continually “Why?” until I’m satisfied that a particular step is not wasteful. We take too much for granted that what we do is needed.

Well, look again. Is it really?