Lean Definition

8 Wastes of Lean

The purpose behind Lean is to reduce steps that don’t hold any value and cause waste. The acronym TIMWOODS outlines the 8 wastes that occur during projects.

T – Transport – Improper facility layout, poor planning and scheduling can all generate transport waste. By not having an effective system in place when it comes to transport, you can trigger lots of wastes such as waiting time or overhead costs such as higher fuel costs and additional labour costs.

I – Inventory – Inventory waste is when you are ordering supplies in excess of what you require. This can be caused through inaccurate forecasting, inefficient stock take and inventory management or long changeover periods.

M – Motion – When moving equipment, employees will carry out certain movements such as bending, turning, reaching and lifting. However, these movements should be kept to a minimal by keeping necessary tools in close proximity and in a clear, structured location to reduce time spent on movement. Ineffective floor layouts and poor workplace organisation are main factors in this.

W – Waiting – Waiting waste is any idle time that occurs in the organisation. This includes the workforce waiting for parts, information, instructions or equipment. This can be caused by lack of equipment, long setup times and poor time management.

O – Over production – Because businesses don’t want to run out of stock/products, they become at risk of overproduction, making more than is immediately required. This waste can be caused by lack of communication, poor planning and the use of automation in the wrong places.

O – Over processing – Over processing refers to excessive work produced that doesn’t add any extra value. This can be a result of lack of communication, excessive information or human error.

D – Defects – Defect waste can impact time, money and resources. Defect waste refers to lack of correct documentation and poor quality control, meaning products are not produced to a high quality standard.

S – Skills – Skills waste refers to underutilising capabilities, such as making employees carry out unnecessary work in which their skill set could be adding greater value elsewhere, or delegating tasks with inadequate training.

There are a variety of tools and techniques in Lean Manufacturing to help you reduce and eliminate waste. Our guide on Kaizen will help you learn more about these techniques.


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