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The seven wastes

The seven wastes is a tool to further categorize muda and was originally developed by Taiichi Ohno as
the core of TPS. While products significantly differ between factories, the typical wastes found in
manufacturing environments are quite similar. For each waste, there is a strategy to reduce or
elim9inate its effect on a company, thereby improving overall performance and quality.

The seven wastes are described under:

Overproduction

Overproduction is manufacturing an item before it is actually required, i.e. producing items for which
there are no orders. Overproduction disallows the smooth flow of materials and actually degrades
quality and productivity. Ohno considered overproduction to be the fundamental waste since it causes
most of other wastes. Therefore, it is frequently referred to as the worst kind of muda. Some aspects
of overproduction are:

It leads to excess of inventory, paperwork, handling, storage, space, interest charges, machinery,
defects, people and overheads.
It is often difficult to see this waste as everyone seems busy.
Cutting overproduction requires a lot of courage because the problems that overproduction is
hiding will be revealed.

Waiting (time on hand)

Waiting (queuing) for anything is a waste. Some reasons for people to wait while working are:

Waiting for materials to be delivered to work area.


Waiting for inspection before performing a required task.
Waiting for information from a number of sources supervisor, scheduling, design, etc.
Waiting for equipment to complete cycle. This is common in facilities that have Computer
Numerical control (CNC) machine centres. Operators load parts, begin the machine cycle, and
wait for the machine to run through the cycle activity.
Mostly people are waiting for one another, which often happens because they have non-
aligned objectives.

Transportation and conveyance

This includes moving materials, parts, or finished goods between processes or into or out of storage.
This is a major problem in batch-and-queue production systems.

Problems associated with transportation are:

Poor layouts cause things to be moved multiple times.


If things are not placed systematically, they can be hard to find.
Excessive movement and handling may cause damage and deterioration in quality.
Transportation is often not reduced because managers think that moving equipment and
processes closer together is difficult or costly.

Example of transportation waste

Back in late 1980s, Mercury Marine, of USA, found that when they manufactured an outboard motor
shaft, the work piece would move over 46.7 km before completion. Learning about JIT, setting up
manufacturing cells, they reduce the distance to 91 m. Sure, we need to move things, but moving things
does not add value to the product, and the customer is really paying for value.

Unnecessary inventory

Work in progress (WIP) is a direct result of overproduction and waiting. Excesss inventory tends to hide
problems on the plant floor, which must be identified and resolved in order to improve operating
performance. Problems associated with excess inventory:

Consumes productive floor space.


Delays the identification of problems, and inhibits communication.

Steps that can be taken to reduce inventory levels include:

Producing only the number of items required by the subsequent process.


Purchase of only the required amounts of materials.
Manufacture of products in right lot size.
Disposal of obsolete materials.

Over-processing or incorrect processing

Over-processing is taking unnecessary steps to process a part. Incorrect processing is inefficient


processing due to poor tool and product. Setup and changeover time are also part of process waste.
Providing higher-quality products than is required by the customer is also a case of over-processing.
Problems related to this category of waste are:

Over-processing causes unnecessary motion.


Incorrect processing causes defects.
Inefficient process may require additional efforts.

Example of over-processing

Suppose a manufacturer is making a particular part according to a blueprint. The blueprint calls for five
threaded holes, each with a depth of 4 mm, on the surface of the component. Now suppose the
operator in charge of machining the holes makes each hole 6 mm deep. Is this better than making 4 mm
deep? No. This is wasteful over-processing. The end customer paid for a 4 mm hole, not a 6 mm hole.
Making the holes 6 mm deep only increases cycle time, which eventually increases production costs
without any added increase in value or profit.

How TPS overcame over-processing

Ohno and Shingo developed one-piece-flow production, where instead of one machine producing as
many products as possible (over-processing) and then moving large lots of inventory to the next
operation, only one part would move at a time. To achieve this flow, they moved machines into cells.
One part was machined, and then moved to the next machine. Of course, quality defects had to be
virtually eliminated, and machine problems had to disappear, for this approach to work.

Unnecessary / excess movement

Whatever motion is made that does not add value to product or process is a waste. This waste is related
to ergonomics since it includes all cases of walking, bending, stretching, lifting, looking for or reaching
for parts, tools, etc. Problems include:

Motion consumes time and money.


Health and safety issues for an organization.

Jobs with excessive motion should be analysed and redesigned for improvement. Having everything on
hand, as it is needed, reduces motion related muda.

Example of how motion can be reduced

Shigehiro Nakamura, a Japanese consultant and teacher would walk through a plant carrying a video
camera. He would stop at an operation and take a short video of the operator and the process.
Afterwards he would gather a small group in a meeting room, and project the video onto a screen. He
would ask: How can we improve the motion of the operator? Everyone would then brainstorm to
arrive at a possible solution.

Product defects

Product defects occur when work pieces must be reprocessed or repaired because of defects.
Consequences of defects are:

Additional labour to disassemble and reassemble defective product.


Additional materials to replace defective parts.
Waiting time in subsequent process increases. This causes increased lead times.
Rework increases cost.

The key to eliminating rework is to build quality into each process, using tools like poka-yoke.

All of the above are the serious problems, but less so in comparison to what happens when defects
occur after the product reaches the customer. This results in extra warranty costs, customer
dissatisfaction and may also result in loss of future business and market share.
The principle of seven wastes and their elimination can also be applied in service industries to reduce
lead time, improve quality and productivity. below shows examples of seven wastes in customer call
centre.

1. Overproduction Send all information to everyone

2. Waiting time People waiting for information

3. Transportation
and conveyance Call transfers to many operators

4. Unnecessary
Caller awaiting to be answered
inventory

5. Unnecessary /
Retrieve printed instruction manual
excess movement

6. Over-processing or
incorrect processing Excessive approvals for information release

7. Defect Errors in information provided to callers