Let’s Talk Lean: Part 3

Happy Friday! My last couple of posts have gotten us through five of the eight common wastes. Seven of the eight were originally defined by the Toyota Production System with the additional waste being Non-Utilized Talent (which we covered yesterday) So far, we have covered the following:




Non-Utilized Talent





Let’s dive right back in and continue on with…


what-is-inventory-managementDefinition: Inventory consists of the storage of raw materials, components, work-in-progress, and finished goods that are not in current in use.



  • Planning
    • “Just in case”
    • Getting ahead
  • Work Flow


  • More supplies than needed
  • Lack of space due to large inventory holdings
  • Redundant information storage


  • Implement “just-in-time” planning
  • Redesign work flow
    • Pull systems
    • Single piece flow
  • Work with suppliers to reduce large “once a month” shipments
    • Our shipping department has recently partnered with our box supplier. Rather than delivering once a month, they will be checking in, far more often, to stock shelves based off of usage data. We will be shrinking our shipping department footprint in half because of the opportunity for flexibility that this change has allowed.


back-and-forth-arrows-thumb-275x195Definition: Motion waste is defined as an unnecessary movement of or by people.


  • Bending down or reaching up to get something
  • Looking for something
  • Walking to get something


  • Poor placement of supplies
  • Poor organization
  • Lack of mindfulness regarding day to day tasks that we seem to just go through the motions of without questioning why or how


  • Redesign the work cell:
    • Evaluate what is needed to get your job done and then set up your workspace to have all necessary items within short reach.
      • Implement Point of Use tools, information, etc.
    • Have consistent ergonomic reviews of existing setups
    • Utilize electronic processeing where possible



Definition: Extra Processing is any non-value added process that the customer is not willing to pay for.


  • Lack of clear standards, work specification, or customer specifications
  • Lack of training
  • Reactions to issues with the implementation of solutions that are never reevaluated after a specified period of time.



  • Inspections
    • Customers aren’t paying you to inspect your product; they expect you to make it right the first time.
      • Many companies fall captive to over-inspection. One mistake caused an over-reaction and now inspection requirements are out of control.
    • Doing more than what the customer asks for/pays for
      • Customer service is one thing, but when you start doing work that is costing money to do and the customer isn’t paying for it, you need to reevaluate.
    • Insufficient tooling resulting in the need for additional processing of the parts
    • Multiple signatures required
    • Reentering duplicate data


  • Standardized work
  • Clearly defined customer specifications
  • Reoccurring process evaluation to ask the questions: “Why are we doing this?” and “Is this necessary?”
  • Sufficient machine and tool resources


Now that we have gone through the eight wastes, I challenge to you try and find an example of each of the wastes in your work place, or even in your everyday life outside of work. Leave a comment and tell me about your successes of leaning out processes through the elimination of DOWNTIME.

 Photo Credit: Inventory , MotionInspection

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