What is Motion Waste?

Motion - Road at Night. This image is CC0!

Do you remember the epiphany I had about Lean Management while emptying the dishwasher? It was triggered by a simple question: should I staple similar things, which belong into a cupboard far away from the dishwasher, or should I collect them outside of the dishwasher, creating temporary inventory waste, plus touching everything twice? Or should I move every single piece? My answer in this simple case was to reduce running around.

Motion waste is moving around yourself.


It is very important to notice the difference between motion waste and transportation waste here. Transportation waste, which will be discussed later, is about moving things around. In many cases, transportation waste implies motion waste, but usually not the other way around.

Even real damage is possible from motion waste.

Motion waste is a person moving from place A to place B without any added valued. It can be also on a much smaller scale. When you use your computer mouse, every time you move your hand from the keyboard to the mouse and back, a little motion waste occurs. Some people even get shoulder pain from using the mouse, because they do it wrongly. It is a good idea to learn hotkeys.

Take another type of motion, which is very common: commuting, especially if one drives by car. You could say that is unavoidable waste, but this need not be true. One could try to make a tele-commuting arrangement. Another option is being self-employed. Using public transportation instead of the car is a good idea, when possible (that is easier in big cities).

If you cannot get rid of commuting, then at least reading a book or hearing an audio edition are ways to reduce this kind of motion waste. Alternatively, you can process your e-mail. My choice: about 50% of my commuting time is dedicated to writing about Lean Self.

Examples for the medium scale are using the elevator and driving short distances by car. Use the stairs, walk, or use your bicycle. You will at least add a little of training this way.

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