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How to Eliminate the 7 Types of Waste within Business Operations

Cost and waste management is critical in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business world, so is identifying and eliminating waste to increase efficiency, and improve overall performance. In the manufacturing industry, waste has been structured around the seven main types. These types of waste are also known as Muda in Japanese, and they are as follows:


  1. Overproduction: This is the most common form of waste, where the production of goods exceeds demand. Overproduction leads to excess inventory, which negatively impacts valuable resources and space. Overproduction can be addressed by implementing a pull system where production is based on customer demand rather than forecasts.
  2. Transport: This waste refers to the unnecessary movement of goods, such as moving raw materials or finished products from one location to another. This adds to the cost of production, increases the risk of damage or loss, and adds no value to the end product. To reduce transport waste, production facilities should be designed to minimize distances between workstations and ensure a smooth flow of materials.
  3. Movement: This waste occurs when workers or machines move more than necessary to complete a task. This can lead to fatigue and inefficiency, resulting in longer lead times and higher costs. To minimize movement waste, workstations should be organized to optimize ergonomics and minimize unnecessary motion.
  4. Waiting: This waste refers to the time lost when workers or machines are idle, waiting for the next step in the production process. Waiting time can result from inefficient processes, poor coordination, or lack of materials. Waiting time reduces productivity, increases lead times, and adds unnecessary costs. To reduce waiting waste, production facilities should implement just-in-time (JIT) systems that ensure materials and workers are available when needed.
  5. Over-processing: This waste occurs when more work is done than necessary to meet customer requirements or quality standards. Over-processing can include using higher quality materials than necessary or performing more inspections than required. Over-processing wastes time and resources, leading to higher costs and longer lead times. To reduce over-processing waste, organizations should focus on the essential requirements of customers and eliminate non-value-added activities.
  6. Defects: This waste is caused by errors or defects in the production process that result in rework or scrap. Defects can lead to customer complaints, returns, and reduced customer satisfaction. Defects also waste time and resources, leading to higher costs and longer lead times. Organizations should focus on improving the quality of production processes and products to reduce defects and waste.
  7. Inventory: This waste refers to excess materials or finished products that are not immediately required. Inventory impacts valuable resources and space, increases the risk of damage or loss, and adds no value to the end product. Inventory can also be reduced by implementing JIT systems that ensure materials and products are available when needed.


Waste is a significant problem in all businesses, not just in manufacturing, which can negatively impact productivity, increase costs, and reduce customer satisfaction. By identifying and eliminating the types of waste applicable to your organization, efficiency, reduced costs, and improved overall performance can be seen.

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