The Seven Types of Waste a Summary

September 30th, 2009

You may have seen a couple of posts I have done on the seven types of waste. I have completed seven articles on all seven types of waste you might find in your organization. Below is a listing and a short description for each of the seven types of waste plus a link to the full article. I believe if you read these articles you will have a new way of looking at your business.

The Seven Types of Waste:

Correction – Corrections are and time you redo, rewrite, rework, repair, or scrap something. This can be as simple as rewriting a grocery list. Say you have a grocery list but you want to rearrange the items on it in the order you will encounter them in the store. Even though it will speed things for you shopping it had to be redone instead of thinking of making the list ordered in the first place. Redoing the list did not add any value to you; it took longer to write it a second time instead of doing it right the first time.

Overproduction – Overproduction is when you make too much of something or you perform too much of a service for some one. Have you ever held a meeting and made copies for that meeting? Most people make a few extra, do you? That is overproduction they will end up in the trash. Or have you every as a question about something in a store and the salesman goes on an on answering your question when all you wanted was the simple answer? That salesman was overproducing

Movement of material or information – This type of waste is when you take any material for information and have to move it from one place to another. You may ship it or carry it your self but that movement does not create any value for the customer in fact it is lost time because it delays your product or service from getting to your customer

Motion of employees – This type of waste is when you or an operator has get up and walk or travel to get something to do their job.  Just like movement of materials and information, motion of the operator does not create value. In fact the “thing” in the process is not changing at all

Waiting – This type of waste is when you, other employees, customer, material, or equipment sits idle waiting. Think about all the waiting rooms there are. As a customer do you want to wait? No but we sometime have come to expect the wait. I have been to doctor’s office where the waiting room is empty or full did not matter but in some I was seen on time and other I have waited over an hour.

Inventory or other resources – This type of waste is not just supplies and materials on shelves but also any recourse your company has that is not being utilized. We normal see inventory as parts and supplies sitting on a shelf like boxes of cereal in the grocery store. But here inventory also include equipment that is standing idle or in storage and employees that have skill that are not being used to their fullest.

Processes – This type of waste is when you are doing more than required by the customer. This is a hard one to understand because sometimes doing more for free has a WOW factor for your customers. That is why it is important to know what is of value and what is not. You see sometime you do sometime more that you think the customer wants and they do not care. That is when it becomes a waste.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt

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5 responses to “The Seven Types of Waste a Summary”

  1. A lot of these are about balancing whether something is going to save you time and convidience or take longer than neccessary. Planning is one I would add to your list. Planning can make part of your job a lot easier, but you often find you spend a lot of time planning and that takes a lot longer than the time you save by having everything planned out in advance.

    • I did not include planning in my list of the seven types of wastes because, as you stated, advance planning done right will save you a lot of time and effort in any project. Planning in a Six Sigma project happen in the Define step of the DMAIC process and is extremely important to do and do it right. What happens is when you don’t do it right the first time and you are constantly adjusting the plan all the way through the project. Some adjustments will happen but the whole idea is to get it right in define and then move forward.

      So I think we agree good advance planning is important to do and is not a waste but poor planning or no planning causes you to take more time and effort later is a waste. But I’d include that in Corrections.

  2. Peter,

    I was also thinking that project planning would overcome a lot of these wasteful practices, and particularly project planning online – the only one it cannot address is correction, as that is the nature of most projects. If you don’t correct, you’re not managing the project, so that one I’d say re-doing of previously completely work can be wasteful, but in project management, re-working of the plan through integration is not wasteful, and should be encouraged, when things change.

    Great article – this could be a great checklist to use!

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