What is Lean
Don’t be shocked when you still hear the question, “What is Lean”? Although Lean principles have been practices for the past century, it’s still a new concept to many small to medium sized businesses and some industries outside of Manufacturing and Healthcare. Simply put, Lean is about removing the waste and non-value added activity that exists within each and every process throughout the business. You might be asking, “so what is waste and non-value added activity”? This is everything that doesn’t bring value to the customer and activity within the processes that the customer isn’t willing to pay for. Removing this waste has a direct impact to your bottom-line by improving the efficiency of these processes.
7 Types of Waste
Taichi Ohno, the founder of the Toyota Production System (TPS), introduced the 7 Types of Waste during his tenure with Toyota. To simplify the identification of waste (or non-value added activity) Ohno created 7 Types of Waste for practitioners. The 7 Types of Waste are defects, overproduction, inventory, over-processing, motion, transportation, and waiting.
- Overproduction of things not demanded by customers
- Inventories awaiting further processing or consumption
- Unnecessary over-processing
- Unnecessary motion of employees
- Unnecessary transportation and handling of goods
- Waiting for an upstream process to deliver, for a machine to finish processing, for a supporting function to be completed, or for an interrupted worker to get back to work