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The Deadly Wastes that have Killed
Thousands of Manufacturers

By José García CMTC

How does a company sustain profitability in today’s highly competitive global business environment? The short answer is to combat waste – the 95% of all cycle time that is non-value added. Value-added is any activity that changes the form, fit, or function of a product. Fortunately, lean manufacturing principles, are available to counter-attack non-value added practices to make your enterprise strong enough to compete at the level of world class. 

A brief definition of each of the non-value added wastes follows: 

•    Waste #1: Non-value added processing is considered work that does not change the form, fit, or the functionality of the product from the customer’s perspective. Misunderstood customer requirements, over processing to accommodate downtime, product changes without process changes, bad communication all lead to processing waste. 

    Waste #2: Overproduction is manufacturing more, faster, and earlier than is required by the next process. Long process setups, unbalance workloads, unleveled scheduling, redundant inspections, and the “just-in-case” logic all contribute to overproduction.  

    Waste#3: Waiting is idle time created because of unleveled scheduling, upstream quality problems, unbalanced workload, unplanned maintenance to machinery, long process setup times, and misused of automation. 

    Waste#4:  Excessive transportation is moving parts and material inventory around the factory. Common causes are poor plant layout, producing large batch sizes, long lead times, large storage areas, and inadequate understanding of the process flow for production. 

•    Waste#5: Excess inventory is any supply in excess of a one-piece flow through your manufacturing process. Product complexity, product complexity, unsure market forecasting, unreliable suppliers, and miscommunication create a glut of inventory. 

    Waste#6: Defects are parts or product that has to be repaired or reworked. Product design that does not meet customer’s needs, weak process control, lack of quality at the source of production, deficient maintenance of equipment, inadequate work-instructions, little or no training and cross-training contribute to products the company can not ship-out to their customers.  

    Waste#7: Excess motion is any movement of machinery, equipment, and people that are non-value added to the manufacturing of products. Causes include lack of quality standards, inconsistent work methods, unfavorable work facility or cell layout, and poor workplace organization and housekeeping. 

    Waste#8: Underutilize people is not using people’s “multibillion dollar computers” – their mental and creative talent. The SOW – “same old way” mentality, old guard thinking, the company’s culture and politics, poor hiring practices, low pay-high turnover strategy, and low investment in training.  

To tolerate any of these “eight deadly manufacturing wastes or non-value added practices” is complacency at the very least. If our customers expect quality workmanship, we must reject waste on all fronts. We must demand that we get our money’s worth and settle for nothing less.  


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This page last updated on

08/01/08 17:31











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