The 7 Types Of Waste In Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing 7 types of waste

What is so special about Lean Manufacturing 7 types of waste? Well, Lean Manufacturing is a methodology that helps to eliminate waste within a manufacturing plant and achieve continuous improvement in production processes. Based on the Toyota Production System, has identified seven types of waste that occur in manufacturing plants and can cause inefficient processes. These seven wastes are overproduction, inventory, transportation, motion, waiting, over-processing and defects.

By recognizing and addressing these sources of waste, Lean Manufacturing can help to create more efficient and cost-effective production processes.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss each of these seven types of waste in more detail to provide a better understanding of how they impact Lean Manufacturing.

1. Overproduction

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What is overproduction?

This type of waste occurs when more products are produced than are needed to meet current demand. It can be caused by a number of different things, such as a lack of communication between departments, faulty planning, or incorrect forecasting.

Overproduction increases inventory costs and ties up resources that could be used to make products that are actually needed.

How to prevent overproduction?

Here are some tips to help you prevent overproduction:

Establish Clear Goals

It’s important to have a clear goal of how much production you want to achieve, and when you need it. This will help ensure that you don’t produce too much and create excess inventory.

Track Production

Implement tracking systems that allow you to monitor the production process and ensure that you’re not producing more than what’s necessary.

Just-In-Time Delivery

Utilizing just-in-time delivery can help prevent overproduction by ensuring that your company only produces what it needs when it needs it.

Flexible Scheduling

Make sure that your production schedules are flexible enough to accommodate any changes in demand.

Monitor Inventory Levels

Regularly monitor your inventory levels to ensure you’re not overproducing products that aren’t selling quickly.

2. Inventory (waste)

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What is inventory?

Inventory is an important concept in Lean Manufacturing, as it can lead to waste and a decrease in productivity if not managed properly. Inventory is defined as any item or material that is stored or held for future use. This includes raw materials, unfinished goods, and finished goods.

When there is too much inventory, it can lead to the seven wastes of Lean Manufacturing.

Too much inventory can be caused by having too many parts in stock, not utilizing Kanban systems, and not being able to meet customer demand quickly enough. By having too much inventory, companies can face higher costs and inefficiencies due to excess storage space and the extra man-hours needed to move the inventory around. Additionally, inventory can also become outdated or obsolete as time passes by, leading to even more waste and cost.

How to prevent inventory?

Preventing inventory is a critical step in the Lean Manufacturing process. The key to reducing inventory is to reduce the amount of time it takes to receive, store and use materials. This can be done through several approaches, such as just-in-time (JIT) inventory, vendor-managed inventory (VMI), and Kanban systems.

Just-in-time (JIT) inventory is a system that focuses on the timely delivery of goods and materials based on actual customer demand. By doing this, companies can reduce their stock levels by only ordering what they need when they need it.

Vendor-managed inventory (VMI) is a system where suppliers track their customers’ stock levels and monitor demand in order to ensure that the right amount of goods is delivered to the customer at the right time. This system requires strong supplier relationships and collaboration to ensure a smooth flow of goods.

Kanban systems are a set of signals and processes that enable production teams to optimize their inventory levels. They focus on reducing the amount of parts and supplies held in stock while ensuring that any replenishment orders are made in a timely fashion.

3. Transportation (waste)

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What is Transportation in Lean Manufacturing?

Transportation occurs when materials, supplies, and other resources are moved unnecessarily from one place to another. This type of waste can add cost, time, and effort to a production process without adding any value to the product or service.

How to avoid transportation?

Transportation waste can be avoided by optimizing the placement of materials and supplies within the production area.

To optimize the placement of materials, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the production process and how raw materials move from one stage to the next. This means identifying areas where too much time is spent moving materials around, as well as points where supplies and materials could be located more efficiently.

To reduce the amount of transportation waste, companies should consider the following strategies:

Reduce Reliance On Vendors For Material Delivery

Companies can decrease their reliance on outside vendors for material delivery and instead use internal sources. When possible, have supplies delivered directly to the production line or bring supplies from one area of the factory to another via forklift or crane.

Reorganize Workstations

Rearranging workstations so that they are near each other or closer to the supply areas can greatly reduce transportation waste. Consider organizing production cells that are focused on specific products and processes. This way, workers don’t have to travel far to access the necessary supplies.

Utilize Pull Systems

Pull systems involve using customer demand to dictate how and when materials are delivered to the production line. By implementing this type of system, materials can be moved only when needed rather than stored in large quantities.

4. Motion (waste)

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What is motion?

It is defined as any unnecessary movement or action that does not add value to the product or service. This type of waste refers to any movement of people, machines, tools, materials, or parts that do not contribute directly to the end product or service.

Motion can cause issues such as long lead times, increased cycle times, and added costs.

How to reduce and avoid motion?

To reduce motion and avoid it, consider implementing a system of workstations and using conveyor belts or carts to help transport items between them.

Also, set up each workstation to minimize unnecessary movement by having all necessary tools and equipment accessible.

Make sure your employees are properly trained and aware of the best ways to move materials in the most efficient way.

When possible, automate processes to reduce the need for manual movement.

Also, consider implementing a tracking system to keep track of inventory and orders, which can minimize the need for workers to physically search for parts.

5. Waiting (waste)

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What is waiting in the Lean Manufacturing system?

Waiting is when a process stalls due to external reasons, such as waiting for raw materials, machine breakdowns, or any other factor outside of the direct control of the manufacturer. This can lead to bottlenecks in the production process, leading to delays and overall inefficiency.

Waiting can cause product quality to suffer as well since products may sit too long and the components may become outdated or damaged.

How to avoid waiting?

In order to avoid waiting, it is important to have an organized system in place that can help manage resources.

  • First, it is important to create a timeline for each product and its resources. Having a timeline will allow you to better plan out the process and schedule tasks accordingly. It also allows you to anticipate any problems that may arise in the process and plan for contingencies.
  • Second, having an effective system for tracking inventory and resource levels will help you avoid waiting as well. Keeping track of resources and inventory levels can help you make sure that there is enough stock available for production. Having an organized system in place will also allow you to easily identify any bottlenecks that may exist in the process.
  • Third, having an effective communication system between departments is essential for avoiding waiting. This way, departments can work together and coordinate their efforts in order to better utilize resources and ensure that production stays on track.

6. Overprocessing

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What is Overprocessing?

Overprocessing is an issue that arises when too much effort, time, and/or resources are spent on a given task or project.

This type of waste can take the form of creating products with more features than needed, spending extra time and money on operations, or applying additional levels of control to processes that don’t require it.

Overprocessing is commonly seen in manufacturing processes where machines are set to run faster than necessary or additional production steps are added to a process that could be handled with fewer steps.

How to avoid Overprocessing?

To avoid overprocessing, businesses need to identify and eliminate unnecessary steps in their processes. Taking time to review each step to ensure it is absolutely necessary will help reduce or eliminate overprocessing.

Businesses should also ensure that they are using the right tools for the job and that employees are adequately trained on how to use them. Providing employees with the right resources and training can help ensure that they are only performing the required steps.

7. Defects

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What are Defects?

Defects are a major type of waste in Lean Manufacturing, and they can be costly. Defects occur when products don’t meet the customer’s expectations. They can range from small blemishes to significant flaws that prevent the product from functioning properly.

Defects often arise due to human error, machinery malfunction, poor-quality materials, or bad design. It’s important to identify and address the root causes of defects in order to prevent them from occurring.

How to avoid generating defects?

The most effective way to avoid generating defects is by preventing them from happening in the first place (right from the first time). This means implementing an efficient quality assurance process and making sure that all products meet customer requirements. Start by creating detailed product specifications for each product and running tests to ensure that the product meets these specifications.

By doing this, you can catch defects before they become a problem and reduce the amount of scrap and rework required.

Additionally, you can also train employees on quality assurance and encourage them to report any issues they see while on the job. Lastly, having a system in place to track, document, and analyze any defects that do arise can help you identify potential areas of improvement in your process.


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Lean Manufacturing is an effective system for eliminating waste and improving overall efficiency in a manufacturing process. By identifying and addressing the sources of these wastes, manufacturers can dramatically reduce their production costs, increase productivity, and improve the quality of their output. Implementing strategies to reduce or eliminate these wastes can help to create a more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing process.

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About the Author

Liviu Prodan

Liviu is an experienced trainer and LifeHacker. He’s been living the ‘Corpo life’ for more than 15 years now and has been a business developer for more than 12 years. His experience brings a lot of relevancy to his space, which he shares on this blog. Now he pursue a career in the Continuous Improvement & Business Development field, as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, a path that is coherent with his beliefs and gives him a lot of satisfaction.

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