In order to really understand waste, Lean Self, just as Lean Management, knows 7+1 types of waste.
Coming from the Japanese origin of Lean, the Lean word for waste is “muda”, so I am going to use this expression from time to time.
There are seven classical mudas plus one on top. In future posts, you will see more detailed discussions of them, but right know I want to provide one Lean Self example per muda:
- Waiting: Like waiting for people that are late at an appointment. If you are late yourself, you create waste for others. Read more about waiting waste.
- Inventory: An e-mail inbox that never seems to get empty. Read more about inventory waste.
- Motion: Running through the kitchen to find ingredients for a meal because you have no order that helps finding food quickly. Read more about motion waste.
- Rework: Doing a job badly, delivering faulty results. Correction of the faults is rework. Read more about rework waste.
- Over-production: Cooking too much food and throwing it away. Read more about over-production waste.
- Over-processing: Ironing underwear. If you do not believe this one, you may have fallen into a value trap, as discussed earlier. Besides, this is no male/female thing. My wife and I agree on that point. Read more about over-processing waste.
- Transportation: Commuting. You might argue that is motion waste. Actually, for the sake of finding an example, the distinction is not that important. Read more about transportation waste.
- Waste of Intellect (additional): Sitting in meetings which do not produce tangible results. Read more about waste of intellect.
You should also note that any waste may not be the root cause, but just a symptom for another waste which needs to be addressed. For example, the reason for inventory waste may be over-production. If you want to get rid of the inventory, you need to reduce over-production. To make it more tangible: If you write useless e-mail to many people, maybe to distribution lists, this is over-producing. Many of these people may reply, although you do not always need to answer back. However, often you will answer. This can set up nasty chains of mail discussions you need to process out of your inbox. Sending out fewer e-mails (reducing over-production) will naturally lead to a smaller inbox and reduced inventory.
Each type of waste
- has different consequences in terms of damage they produce,
- can be measured differently, both in terms of measuring the problem and in terms of success of elimination, and
- needs different methods for elimination.
Summing it up in a simple rule, waste types help to
Understand waste, measure waste, eliminate waste.