1. Transportation - Any movement
of parts or product from one place to
2. Inventory - Anything that has
been purchased or partially produced
3. Motion - Any human movement
that is not adding value.
4. Waiting - The act of doing nothing or working slowly while waiting for
a previous step in the process.
5. Over processing - Doing more work
than the customer is willing to pay for.
6. Over Production - Making more than
the subsequent process can consume.
7. Defects - Making anything that is
not to spec, something the customer
will not accept.
Here is the catch, don’t run out
onto the shop floor looking for waste.
You and your small team should
be looking for waste in your own
processes first. All seven wastes are
present in almost everything you are
currently doing. A scary statistic is
that 95 percent of everything we do
is waste. At this point in the review of
your own process, you should have had
that epiphany already. Now it’s time to
teach your team to see.
One of the most effective tools for
teaching is to show them the waste in
your own daily routine and what you
did to reduce it. A sure way for your
teaching to backfire is to point out
their waste and say, “See? Look at
that? What did I tell you? It’s every-
where.” Although your intensions
might be good, that approach will put
everyone on the defensive. It’s best to
have everyone focus on their own waste
and use the team as a sounding board
for improvement ideas as it is uncov-
ered. Present your findings to the team
and discuss ways to reduce it.
Right about now you’re probably
wondering, “How often should we be
doing this?” What happens when you go
to the gym once a month? Once a week?
You guessed it. If you want results, it
should happen daily. Set aside 15 min-
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