Eight Wastes of Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing – The Eight Wastes

What is lean manufacturing?

Also known as lean production, lean manufacturing is a systematic waste minimization method for waste within a manufacturing workplace or process. Lean manufacturing works without affecting productivity in the workplace.

What are the eight wastes?

Originally developed in the 1940's by Japanese Toyota industrial engineer, Taiichi Ohno, the lean approach takes a step by step waste reduction in manufacturing processes. The eight wastes are the steps to identifying and removing waste that affect efficient manufacturing.

Identifying the eight wastes in lean manufacturing


Defects are anything in a manufacturing process or product that doesn’t meet customer expectations including efforts caused by rework, scrap, or incorrect information.
  • Symptoms of Defects:

    • Any time a customer expectation is not met.
    • Defective products in production or that reach a customers
    • Labor for correction and inspecting
    • Scrap material
    • Late delivery and upset customers
  • Underlying Issues of Defects:

    • Poorly defined process or processes
    • A process is difficult or confusing for workers or customers to follow
    • Lack of training and procedures


Overproduction is producing more than the customer needs or before it is needed.
  • Symptoms of Overproduction:

    • Excess inventory
    • Excess labor
    • Excess storage or square footage requirements
  • Underlying Issues of Overproduction:

    • A process requires product be produced in large quantities
    • Producing product in anticipation of sales


Waiting is wasted time waiting for the next step in a process or for required resources (materials, people, equipment, etc.) to complete work.
  • Symptoms of Waiting:

    • Accumulation of paperwork
    • Accumulation of material (carts, shelves, warehouses)
    • Waiting for support
  • Underlying Issues of Waiting:

    • Downtime
    • Unbalanced operations
    • Bottlenecks

Non-Utilized Talent

Non-utilized talent is failing to utilize people’s talents, skills, & knowledge or an employee is participating in waste instead of performing work matching their skills and knowledge.
  • Symptoms of Non-Utilized Talent:

    • Lack of employee engagement
    • Lack of employee suggestions (from fear of rejection or punishment)
    • High employee turnover rate
    • Low morale among employees
  • Underlying Issues of Non-Utilized Talent:

    • Too much time spent doing menial tasks
    • Lack of employee training
    • Management doesn’t understand employees or their own process


Transportation waste is the unnecessary movement of products & materials between processes and work spaces when that movement is not value added.
  • Symptoms of Transportation Waste:

    • Moving product to and from a warehouse
    • Distance between two cells or operations is excessive
    • Product moves back and forth between two areas
  • Underlying Issues of Transportation Waste:

    • Poor layout of the workplace
    • Lack of communication
    • Overproduction


Inventory is the excess need for storage or an accumulation of products or materials being processed.
  • Symptoms of Inventory:

    • Storage areas
    • Product and paperwork piles up near stations
    • Slow cash-to-cash conversion
  • Underlying Issues of Inventory:

    • Inefficient process
    • Making product in anticipation of sales
    • Poor communication between cells, departments, and operations
    • Poor production planning


Motion waste is the physical movement by people (such as walking) within a process step that is not value-added.
  • Symptoms of Motion:

    • Bending, turning, and reaching
    • Searching or going to get things needed for work
    • Excessive keystrokes or mouse movements
  • Underlying Issues of Motion:

    • Poorly designed work space
    • Software applications that difficult to access or hard to use 
    • Unorganized files, tools, etc.


Extra-processing is doing more work or performing at a higher quality than is required by the customer to make a product.
  • Symptoms of Extra-Processing:

    • Outdated equipment, software, or thinking
    • Tools or people that are not flexible
    • Frustration from complexity of a process
    • High defect rate or re-occurring problems
  • Underlying Issues of Extra-Processing:

    • Processes not being reviewed
    • Employees not empowered to make decisions
    • Lack of management oversight

Identifying the eight types of waste in your business without interrupting productivity is an essential step towards increasing profitability and maintaining continuous improvement. The use of business analysis, which works to identify the unique wastes in your business and document solution requirements to reduce them, along with integrated automation software can ensure the longevity and survival of your business.

For information on business analysis, the 8 types of waste, or our software solution contact us today.