Browse Definitions:
Definition

seven wastes

What are the seven wastes?

The seven wastes are categories of unproductive manufacturing practices identified by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System (TPS). The categories are an integral part of the TPS (known as lean production in North America).

Following are the seven wastes, as categorized by Taiichi Ohno:

  • Overproduction -- Manufacture of products in advance or in excess of demand wastes money, time and space.
  • Waiting -- Processes are ineffective and time is wasted when one process waits to begin while another finishes. Instead, the flow of operations should be smooth and continuous. According to some estimates, as much as 99 percent of a product's time in manufacture is actually spent waiting.
  • Transportation -- Moving a product between manufacturing processes adds no value, is expensive and can cause damage or product deterioration.
  • Inappropriate processing -- Overly elaborate and expensive equipment is wasteful if simpler machinery would work as well.
  • Excessive inventory wastes resources through costs of storage and maintenance.
  • Unnecessary motion -- Resources are wasted when workers have to bend, reach or walk distances to do their jobs. Workplace ergonomics assessment should be conducted to design a more efficient environment.
  • Defects -- Inspecting and quarantining inventory takes time and costs money.

Lean manufacturing is based on a just-in-time model of production to avoid the waste associated with overproduction, waiting and excess inventory.

Since the categories of waste were established, others have been proposed for addition, including:

  • Underutilization of employee skills -- Although employees are typically hired for a specific skill set, they always bring other skills and insights to the workplace that should be acknowledged and utilized.
  • Unsafe workplaces and environments -- Employee accidents and health issues as a result of unsafe working conditions waste resources.
  • Lack of information or sharing of information -- Research and communication are essential to keep operations working to capacity.
  • Equipment breakdown -- Poorly maintained equipment can result in damage and cost resources of both time and money.

Although the seven wastes list was created for manufacturing, the categories can be adapted to apply to most types of workplaces.

See also: lean programming.

Learn More About IT:
> David McBride writes about the seven wastes.
> Wikipedia writes about the seven wastes in its entry for Muda.
> Agrilean explains how the seven wastes rob organizational value.

This was last updated in March 2009

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • principle of least privilege (POLP)

    The principle of least privilege (POLP), an important concept in computer security, is the practice of limiting access rights for...

  • identity management (ID management)

    Identity management (ID management) is the organizational process for identifying, authenticating and authorizing individuals or ...

  • zero-day (computer)

    A zero-day vulnerability, also known as a computer zero day, is a flaw in software, hardware or firmware that is unknown to the ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • SAS SSD (Serial-Attached SCSI solid-state drive)

    A SAS SSD (Serial-Attached SCSI solid-state drive) is a NAND flash-based storage or caching device designed to fit in the same ...

  • MTTR (mean time to repair)

    MTTR (mean time to repair) is the average time required to fix a failed component or device and return it to production status.

  • OpenStack Swift

    OpenStack Swift, also known as OpenStack Object Storage, is an open source object storage system that is licensed under the ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close