The 8 Forms of Process Waste

Uncategorized May 20, 2024

If you want to improve workflow and reduce friction and blockages, it's important to be able to recognize them. Here are the most common forms of friction, or "waste" in your workflow:

1. Transportation:

Transportation waste occurs when materials, products, or information are moved more than necessary, leading to delays, increased costs, and a higher risk of damage. Minimizing transportation can streamline operations and reduce expenses. This type of waste is often addressed by optimizing layout and process flows to reduce travel distances and times.

2. Inventory:

Excessive inventory involves holding or processing more items than are required for immediate use, tying up capital, and increasing storage and handling costs. It can also hide problems such as production imbalances or issues in product quality. Reducing inventory levels to what is just necessary helps in quick identification of problems and reduces holding costs.

3. Motion:

Motion waste refers to any movement of people or machines that does not add value to the product or service. It includes unnecessary bending, walking, reaching, or searching. Streamlining the workspace and improving ergonomics can reduce this waste, enhancing productivity and reducing worker fatigue.

4. Waiting:

Waiting waste occurs when people, information, or goods are idle, waiting for the next step in a process. This downtime can be caused by bottlenecks, unbalanced workloads, or ineffective workflows. Reducing waiting times can be achieved by synchronizing work processes and improving workflow continuity.

5. Over-processing:

This type of waste occurs when more work is done on a piece than what is required by the customer, leading to excessive use of resources and time. It often stems from poorly designed processes or misunderstanding customer requirements. Simplifying and standardizing processes can help eliminate over-processing.

6. Over-production:

Producing more products than needed or before they are needed creates over-production waste. This leads to excess inventory and higher holding costs, and can mask inefficiencies in the process. Aligning production closer to demand through techniques like Just-In-Time (JIT) can mitigate this waste.

7. Defects:

Defect waste refers to the effort involved in inspecting for and fixing defects in products. It includes the time and materials wasted in producing defective goods. Implementing quality control processes at multiple stages of production can help in early detection and reduce the incidence of defects.

8. Underutilized Talent:

This type of waste occurs when the skills, talents, and knowledge of employees are not fully utilized or are mismatched with their job roles. It leads to reduced engagement, lower productivity, and can hinder innovation. By actively engaging employees in problem-solving, decision-making, and process improvement, organizations can better harness their talents and boost overall performance.

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