The Complete Guide to 8 Wastes Of Lean Manufacturing

The Complete Guide to 8 Wastes Of Lean Manufacturing

To achieve the ultimate goal of Lean manufacturing — producing more value for customers with fewer resources — it is necessary to identify and eliminate “waste.” Unfortunately, this can be a difficult task, as certain types of waste are not always easy to see. Lean practitioners have identified 8 specific types of waste, which we will outline in this article. By becoming aware of these wastes and how they occur in your business, you will be able to take steps to prevent them from happening. Let’s get started!


What are “Wastes” in Lean Manufacturing?

In lean manufacturing, wastes are defined as anything that does not add value to the product or service from the customer’s perspective. In other words, if a process or activity is not essential to creating a finished product that the customer is willing to pay for, then it is considered a waste.

Waste in lean manufacturing is any cost incurred during a process that doesn’t benefit the business or its customers. Lean manufacturing focuses on eliminating these wastes from the manufacturing process and ensuring that every step of the process adds value.


Explaining the Wastes of Lean Manufacturing

There are eight wastes of lean manufacturing:

  1. Overproduction
  2. Inventory
  3. Transportation
  4. Motion
  5. Waiting
  6. Overprocessing
  7. Defects
  8. Skills underutilization


Once you pinpoint and understand the causes of these wastes, your company can then focus on optimizing its processes by eliminating these wastes from your operations. Let’s take a closer look at these wastes and see how they impact efficiency:

1. Overproduction

Continuous production of products during idle time may be tempting to keep costs low and workers busy. However, this creates unnecessary inventory that can lead to storage issues and higher production costs down the line. All the excess products your customers aren’t paying for the result from ‘overproduction.’ Hence, it’s also considered as waste. 

To help eliminate overproduction, consider enforcing strict work-in-progress limits. At the same time, you should also follow the just-in-time philosophy to avoid overproduction and the associated waste.

2. Inventory

Any materials, products, or even information that is not being used are considered inventory. While it may be tempting to keep extra inventory on hand “just in case,” this can actually lead to higher costs and decreased efficiency. Inventory is a waste because it ties up cash that could be used elsewhere, takes up space that could be used for other purposes, and generally adds no value to the product. 

To help reduce inventory levels, consider implementing a Kanban system. This will help you better track inventory levels and only produce what is needed when needed.

Here are other ways you can cut down excess inventory:

  • Reduce buffers in between production steps.
  • Purchase raw material only when necessary and in the quantity needed.
  • Create a queuing system.


3. Transportation

Most of the time, resources such as workers, tools, inventory, and products are moved around more than necessary. The unnecessary movement will lead to wasted time and effort, worker exhaustion, equipment wear and tear, and product damage. In addition to adding overhead costs, transportation also increases the chance of defects and delays. 

To help reduce transportation waste, consider streamlining your process so that materials flow in a single direction. Whenever possible, try to group similar activities and resources to be transported together. This will help to reduce the overall amount of transportation required.

4. Motion

This type of lean waste occurs when workers have to move more than necessary to complete a task. This could be due to poor ergonomics, inefficient work area layout, or poorly designed equipment. Motion waste can lead to worker fatigue, reduced productivity, and increased risk of injury. 

To help reduce motion waste, consider redesigning your work area for better ergonomics. This may involve rearranging workstations, using conveyor belts, or automating tasks that require repetitive motion.

5. Waiting

This type of waste occurs when workers are idle because they are waiting for materials, information, or equipment. Waiting can lead to frustration, boredom, and reduced productivity.

To help reduce waiting waste, consider implementing a just-in-time system. This will help ensure that materials are delivered when needed so that workers can stay busy and productive. You can also streamline your process so that there are fewer steps and workers can move on to the next task more quickly.

6. Over-processing

This type of waste occurs when products are processed more than necessary. This could be due to excessive inspections, rework, or unnecessary features. Over-processing can lead to higher costs, longer lead times, and increased frustration. 

To help reduce over-processing waste, consider streamlining your process to include only the necessary steps. You can also automate repetitive tasks and implement quality control procedures to catch defects before they become costly problems.

7. Defects

Defects are a type of lean waste that occurs when products do not meet customer requirements. This could be due to poor quality, incorrect specifications, or human error. Defects can increase costs, longer lead times, and decreased customer satisfaction. 

To help reduce defects, consider implementing a quality control system. This will help to catch defects before they become a problem. Streamlining your process will also reduce the chances of human error.

8. Non-utilized Talent

This type of waste occurs when employees cannot use their skills and knowledge to their full potential. This could be due to poor job design, lack of training, or lack of opportunity. Non-utilized talent can lead to frustration, boredom, and reduced productivity. 

To help reduce this type of waste, consider redesigning jobs so that employees can use their skills and knowledge more effectively. You should also provide training so that employees can perform their jobs to the best of their ability. Finally, try to create opportunities for employee development to grow in their careers.


Eliminate Lean Wastes with DATAMYTE!

The best way to eliminate waste and embrace true lean manufacturing is by using a quality management platform designed for the modern factory. DATAMYTE offers comprehensive solutions that include quality control, data collection, tracking features, and more — all of which will help you eliminate lean waste and improve manufacturing.

DATAMYTE has an array of software designed to help you streamline your process, reduce defects, and improve quality. Some notable features that will help you deal with lean waste include:

  • Digital Clipboard: create a comprehensive workflow that prevents lean waste while promoting work performance and efficiency.
  • Escalate: DataMyte’s escalation management tool ensures that problems are dealt with quickly and efficiently before they have a chance to cause waste.
  • DataMetrics: Improve your manufacturing business by leveraging quality technology that will help you boost your performance and eliminate waste.
  • QPS: DataMyte’s Quality Planning Studio lets you plan, document, and monitor your core quality requirements to avoid potential waste.


When embracing lean manufacturing, DATAMYTE is the perfect partner for your business! Visit our website now to learn more.



Achieving true lean manufacturing requires a dedication to waste elimination. The eight wastes of lean provide a framework for identifying and eliminating waste in your organization. Using the right tools and strategies can reduce or eliminate these wastes and improve your manufacturing process. DATAMYTE is committed to helping organizations achieve true lean manufacturing. Get started today!



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