Lean Resource Center

The Seven Wastes

In a broad sense, waste can be considered as any activity or resource in an organization that does not add value to an external customer.

The seven wastes can be applied to a warehousing situation, an office (substituting documents for products), transactional or support service activities, and many other work functions that are not necessarily manufacturing or operational in nature.

Waste 1 | Waiting

  • Can some tasks be done in parallel rather than in series?

Waste 2 | Transportation

  • Can the process be configured to move product to the next operations (rather than having people do the moving)?

Waste 3 | Processing Itself

  • Can some tasks be combined or eliminated?

Waste 4 | Motion

  • What aids, such as fixtures, new equipment, or special tools could speed up the process?

Waste 5 | Poor “Quality”

  • Where can mistake-Proofing be used to eliminate or reduce errors or rework?

Waste 6 | Inventory

  • Is WIP (inventory) needed just-in-case or can we operate without it?

Waste 7 | Overproduction

  • Can the operation produce to order rather than produce for inventory?