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Types of Waste Targeted by Lean Methods

Lean methods typically target eight types of waste. Each of these wastes has a potential environmental impact, shown below. It is interesting to note that the "wastes" typically targeted by environmental management agencies, such as non-product output and raw material wastes, are not explicitly included in the list of manufacturing wastes that lean practitioners routinely target.

Waste Type Targeted by Lean Methods Service Sector Wastes
Defects Scrap, rework, replacement production, inspection Order entry, design, or engineering errors
Waiting Stock-outs, lot processing delays, equipment downtime, capacity bottlenecks System downtime, response time, approvals
Overproduction Manufacturing items for which there are no orders Printing paperwork, purchasing items before they are needed, processing paperwork before the next person is ready for it
Transportation Transporting work-in-progress (WIP) long distances, trucking to and from an off-site storage facility Multiple sites outside of walking distance, off-site training
Inventory Excess raw material, WIP, or finished goods Office supplies, sales literature, and reports
Complexity More parts, process steps, or time than necessary to meet customer needs Re-entry of data, extra copies, excessive reporting, etc.
Unused creativity Lost time, ideas, skills, improvements, and suggestions from employees Limited tools or authority available to employees to carry-out basic tasks