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What Are The 8 Wastes of Lean?

Identifying and Eliminating the 8 Types of Wastes From Your Organization

Why we should care about the 8 Wastes of Lean?

There's a name for all of those frustrations, interruptions, and annoyances that get in the way of us doing our best work. And that name is "Waste". Most of us understand waste to be physical waste or garbage...like scraps of wood on the floor of a wood shop or food that's gone bad in the fridge. In any organization, identifying and eliminating process waste is a cornerstone of Lean. In a process improvement project, identifying the 8 wastes in our own processes is one of the main techniques to drive to massive leaps in efficiency. The results - once the waste is eliminated - can be shocking!

Make no mistake, there will always be some amount of waste in every process and the skill is learning first how to see it...and then to minimize or eliminate it! The trick is that you can only eliminate it if you can see it. And process waste is clever. It hides itself in every nook and cranny of the process camouflaging itself as critical or necessary. And therein lies the problem!

We could either examine our process for all of the thousands of specific types of waste, OR we can learn the 8 categories of waste that all waste falls into. This makes it much easier to recognize and then get rid of it. So, here we are. The 8 Wastes of Lean are;

  1. Defects

  2. Overproduction

  3. Waiting

  4. Non-Utilized Talent

  5. Transportation

  6. Inventory

  7. Motion

  8. Extra-Processing