What are the seven wastes?
One of the targets of any improvement activity is usually to reduce the number of non-value added activities within a an organizations processes. Non-value add tasks are often referred to as waste and the ability to clarify waste is key to distinguishing between work that is valuable to the organization (and its customers) and those that aren’t.
Waste can be applied to a variety of business scenarios from manufacturing through to service and can affect both the quality and cost of the end product. Waste is commonly divided into seven categories.
The seven wastes are:
- Producing more goods than the customer needs
- Anywhere where goods are moved within a process
- Where waiting time occurs, traditionally where one process waits for another to finish before it can start.
- Typified by stock or materials that are not being used in the process or current activity.
- Poor planning and organizational layout often cause motion waste – for example if you commonly use a printer on the other side of the office that you have to walk to to retrieve your print jobs that is waste.
- Where steps occur in the production process that do not add value to the end customer this is termed overproduction – for example authority processes often require multiple signatories.
- The process results in an error or requires rework – for example in manufacturing this could represent an item where components have been omitted from the construction.