8 Waste (DOWNTIME)

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8 Waste (DOWNTIME)

“Digital transformation is a fundamental reality for businesses today” by Warren Buffett.

An abundant quantity of waste can occur in the workplace, specifically in a manufacturing process, but do you know what are the 8 most commons wastes and how they affect your organization? Anything that doesn’t add any value for the customer must be considered “waste”, or “Muda”, and all the effort must be made to eliminate that waste. Wastes are seen as barriers against productivity. In different words, waste is any process that the customer doesn’t want to pay for.

If you’re informed with Lean manufacturing, then you’ve likely heard of 7 Wastes of Lean. The real seven wastes (Muda) were developed by Taiichi Ohno, the Chief Engineer at Toyota, as part of the Toyota Production System (TPS). The 7 wastes are Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Over processing & Defects. They are often mentioned by the acronym ‘TIMWOOD’.

The 8th waste, non-utilized talent (also called skills), is a significant update to the list of things that becomes a barrier to a company’s success. The following 8 lean manufacturing wastes have a universal application to businesses today. As a result, the 8 wastes are commonly referred to as DOWNTIME.

  • Defects – products or services that don’t meet company standards.
  • Overproduction – producing more of a product than consumer demand.
  • Waiting – the downtime between steps in a production process.
  • Non-utilized talent – Underutilizing people’s skills, talents.
  • Transportation – unnecessary movement of information, products & materials in production processes.
  • Inventory – making/storing more than meets customer demand.
  • Motion -Unnecessary movement by people or equipment.
  • Excessive processing – Any steps that don’t add value for the customer but cost resources.
8 Waste (DOWNTIME)

A trained Lean Six Sigma professional can focus on the main issues of a business as they have learned to see the 8 Wastes of Lean in the broad range of business systems. If identified, solutions can be made to eliminate the waste, working toward more successful & effective practices.

Lean transformation goals to eliminate wastes from processes. Words like Muda, Muri & Mura have been popular since the arrival of lean manufacturing as an efficient tool to enhance productivity in manufacturing processes. It is acknowledged as the 3M of wastages in manufacturing and is hooked to each other. The verbatim meaning of the 3 terms is waste (Muda), overburden (Muri) & unevenness (Mura). Below, we will examine wastes in detail.

  1. Defects

Defects are identified as any products that don’t meet company standards. Defects are generally considered the worst of the wastes because they often need reworking to become sellable or they get scrapped completely which requires additional costs to the operation without adding any value for the customer in VUCA.

For instance, if your customer orders 2,000 blue cases and you deliver 2,000 green cases, this will be a defect. The customer could reject all your goods, costing you all the time & material that was put into it. Maybe they accept it with a discount if you are lucky. Defects & broken parts add to the dissatisfaction among customers.

Causes of defects:

  • Misunderstood customer needs.
  • Poor quality controls.
  • Poor repair.
  • Lack of standards.
  • Uncontrolled inventory levels.
  • Poor documentation.

Focus on defect prevention rather than defect detection. Wholly eliminating any form of waste is impossible, but defects can be limited by standardized work plans, six sigma tools & good quality management.

How to fight Defects:

  • A full understanding of work requirements and customer needs.
  • Implement Six Sigma to detect abnormalities during transformation.
  • Standardize work to ensure manufacturing is consistently free of defects.
  1. Overproduction

Overproduction happens when a product is made before customer demand requires it. This is the kind of wastage that occurs when the production output is much higher than the needs of the customer. Old production thinking was that a factory should always be running at full capacity & utilization. But this leads to some of the other 8 wastes downtime such as inventory and non-value-added processing. In an office environment, overproduction could include making reports no one reads, making extra copies, providing more information than needed, and providing a service before the consumer is ready.

Just In Time’s production philosophy focuses on customer demand rather than producing as much product as possible. But, Overproduction is most common when the manufacturer keeps the mindset of the ‘Just In Case’ way of working which leads to a host of problems including drive up storage costs, hiding defects inside the inventory, requiring much money to fund the production process, and excessive lead-time in business transformation.

Causes of Overproduction:

  • Just-in-case production.
  • Unclear customer needs.
  • Long set-up times.
  • Engineering changes.
  • Producing to a forecast.

How to fight Overproduction waste:

  • Takt Time makes sure that the rate of manufacturing between stations is even.
  • Reduced setup times enables producing small batches.
  • Use a pull production system or Kanban system to manage the amount of WIP.

Check out the Best Waste / DOWNTIME Video-

  1. Waiting

Waiting is the simplest of 8 wastes of lean to overlook. Fundamentally, this waste occurs when time is wasted as a result of a sink in productivity. This occurs whenever work has to stop for some reason which includes: workers waiting on material, lack of trained staff, production stopped for equipment cooldowns or maintenance. Waiting time can result in excess inventory or overproduction. In an office setting, waiting for waste is excessive meetings, waiting for the computer to load a program, long email chains, a long queue of files waiting to be approved, etc.

Causes of Waiting:

  • Poor process quality.
  • Unbalanced workloads.
  • Unplanned downtime.
  • Long set-up times.
  • Insufficient staffing.
  • Work absences.

These all events result in barriers in time and hampers production, delay in delivery and even can cause missing of important deadlines, ultimately being obstacles in the path of effective transformation. Lead time & efficiency can be greatly boosted through the removal of this waste.

How to fight Waiting Waste:

  • Implement continuous flow or single piece flow in the business processes.
  • Leveling out the workload by using standardized work instructions.
  • Provide adequate staffing to handle the workload at the bottlenecks.
  • Developing flexible multi-skilled workers who can quickly adjust to the work demands.
  1. Non- Utilized Talent

This is the newest to the 8 Wastes of lean in service industry. Though not admitted by the Toyota Production System, this waste is being progressively seen within businesses today- the waste of human potential. Companies now realize that employees are their biggest assets. This waste occurs when companies have management that doesn’t utilize employees’ expertise, skill & experience. Not utilizing peoples’ talents, skills and knowledge can hurt an organization. In manufacturing, this waste can be seen when employees are poorly trained, they don’t know how to efficiently operate the equipment.

When workers are provided the opportunity to thrive in the workplace, they work their best. This means that we make sure that their ideas are heard as you never know who can come up with a great idea when. The motivation of ideas is of great importance to the success of companies in the new millennium. This is the hardest of the 8 wastes to see in an organization.

Causes of Non-utilizing talent:

  • Poor management.
  • Assigning staff to wrong tasks.
  • Poor communication.
  • Lack of teamwork.
  • Insufficient training.

How to Fight This waste:

  • Encourage employee creativity as much as possible.
  • Brainstorming sessions & idea gathering techniques can help reduce this waste.
  • Empower your employees, stop micromanaging & increase training.
  1. Transportation

Waste in transportation includes movement of tools, people, inventory, equipment, or products more than necessary. Excessive movement of people & equipment can lead to greater wear and tear, unnecessary work & exhaustion. Excessive movement of materials can lead to product damage & defects. Also, too much transportation tends to amplify costs, wastes time, increases the likelihood of product damage and decline and can result in poor communication, eventually leading in inefficient lean transformation.

Causes of transportation waste:

  • Misaligned process flow.
  • Poor plant/office layout.
  • Unnecessary steps in the process.
  • Poorly-designed systems.

In the office, workers who collaborate often should be close together. In the factory, materials necessary for production process in VUCA should be easily accessible at the production location and double handling of materials should be avoided.

How to fight Transportation waste:

  • Develop a U-shape production line, redesign processes, focus on ways to minimize movement and build plans for lean transformation.
  • Value stream mapping, supply chain optimization & linear programming can help reduce this waste.
  • Take a Gemba walk, pay close attention to the steps involved in production.

Creative ideas need to be used, especially in VUCA environment. Some companies are successful in eliminating transportation by generating products inside their customers’ plants – a very creative way to remove this waste. They rent the space from their customer, produce the products & send it straight into their assembly line. This can only be done if the customer is big enough to warrant a mini-factory in their factory.

  1. Inventory

Inventory is one of the worst waste of the 8 wastes. Inventory is completed items stock, the raw materials, work in progress (WIP) that is held and we generally hold far more than is required to produce goods and services when the customer wants them using

Just in Time (JIT) principles. Inventory is doing nothing but taking up your working capital and space.

Inventory results in other wastes. Inventory leads to waiting, defects from expiries are a form of overproduction. In accounting, inventory is seen as an asset and oftentimes suppliers provide discounts for bulk purchases. In production, excessive inventory leads to damaged products, longer lead time.

Inventory is one of the easiest wastes to see in the quality transformation process.  But it is harder to see in an office. In-office inventory waste could be unread mails, files waiting to be worked on, customers waiting for service, unused records in a database. Manufacturing inventory waste could include broken machines sitting around, more finished products than demanded, extra materials taking up workspace.

But having more inventory than necessary to endure a steady flow of work can lead to problems including product defects, greater lead time, an inefficient allocation of capital. Of course, the idea is to have zero inventory and have material pop up when it is needed. It is almost impossible to attain that in the real world due to variation and uncertainty. But inventory optimization can be defeated if the variation and uncertainties in the business are handled well.

Causes of Inventory:

  • Overproduction.
  • Long set-up times.
  • Poor monitoring systems.
  • Mismatched production speeds.
  • Unreliable suppliers.

How to Fight Inventory:

  • Purchase raw materials only when required and in the quantity needed.
  • Supply chain transformation, variation studies, capability studies, can help reduce this waste.
  • Reducing buffers between production steps, and creating a queue system to prevent overproduction.
  1. Motion

The motion refers to any unnecessary movement of parts, equipment, people, or machinery which doesn’t add any value to the process of business transformation. Walking, reaching, lifting, bending, stretching, and moving that adds time or expends extra energy would be a motion waste. In the office, wasted motion can include double entry of data, walking, reaching to get materials, searching for files. Manufacturing motion waste can include repetitive movements, walking to get a tool or materials.

For instance, an office maintains its records in a cabinet so high its receptionist needs to use a ladder to obtain those files. This extra movement adds time, uses too much energy, and increases the risk of an accident. In a warehouse setting, this might look like team members having to strain to reach where gears are kept, or having to stroll a hundred toes to retrieve a commonly-used piece of equipment. If you can limit motion while doing a process, you can reduce the time and energy needed for that process.

Causes of Motion Waste:

  • Inefficient work processes, design, and controls.
  • Poor workstation/shop layout.
  • Untrained staff.
  • Workstation congestion.
  • Isolated and siloed operations.

How to Fight Motion waste:

  • Implement a 5S program.
  • Make organization a priority.
  • Reassess where tools are kept.
  • Time & motion studies can help reduce this waste.
  • Place equipment near the production location.
  1. Extra Processing

Extra processing in 8 waste of lean in service industry refers to a product or service having more features, having more steps in a product or service than is needed or expected by the customer. In manufacturing this could include using highly accurate equipment than necessary, capacities beyond what is needed, over-engineering, readjusting a component, and having greater functionalities in a product than needed.

In the office, over-processing can include having unnecessary steps in the purchasing process, generating more detailed reports than needed, unnecessary signatures on a document, double entry of data.

Causes of Extra processing:

  • Excessive reports.
  • Poor communication.
  • Multiple signatures.
  • Duplicated data.
  • Lack of standards.
  • Overdesigned equipment.
  • Misunderstanding of the customer’s requirements.

All of these redundantly amplify your time, costs, and resources. First study & map your organization to research the processes so one can repair them. Standardize processes, eliminate unnecessary documentation, empower employees and, sign-off processes and meetings for quality transformation.

How to fight extra processing waste:

  • Understanding of the work requirements from the standpoint of the customer.
  • Produce to the level of quality & expectation that the customer desires.
  • Have customer expectations in mind before designing production processes.
  • Identifying & Eliminating 8 Wastes.

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The initial step in reducing waste is identifying that they are exist & having an effective process for identifying them. Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a Lean transformation method for evaluating the current state & designing a future state. It indicates the flow of statistics and material. Value Stream Mapping is an efficient tool for mapping out the processes engaged, presenting the relationship among production processes in a visual way, and separating value-added & non-value-added activities.

To identify wastes, utilize the VSM and begin with the end customer in mind. Report instances of the 8 wastes in the processes and develop a plan for eliminating them. Interact with the frontline workers and draw out their ideas for enhancement. The systematic elimination of these wastes can result in quicker processes, higher quality, lower costs, satisfied workers, and most essentially happier customers.


The process of elimination of the 8 wastes of the lean transformation process is much simpler when the production procedure is entirely apparent. Cloud computing, deep analytics, and device learning functions in conjunction with equipment, sensors, and software adaptors for attaching and allowing to influence the hidden capacity for superior efficiency.

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