8 Lean Process Wastes

In any company there are processes that need improvement. Wasteful activities exist everywhere, from the manufacturing floor, to the HR department. In order to improve business processes, companies must identify activities that are non-value add activities, a key lean concept. By identifying these non-value add activities, companies can improve and provide higher quality value of services to their customers.

8 Commonly Accepted Forms of Waste:

The movement of products or materials that is unnecessary and disrupts processes
 Products or materials that are not being used and take up space


The movement of people that is unnecessary and consumes energy and time


Not using employee knowledge and skills to company benefit


The wasted time waiting for the next steps of a process or activity to begin


Producing more than what is required or needed


Putting in more work and effort than is necessary


Results that are not acceptable to customers and require rework; caused by incorrect information, expiration of materials, bad quality materials, etc.

Although these are the most commonly recognized forms of waste, there are other forms that can relate more specifically to certain industries. A ninth waste as identified by LSSE Senior Consultant Jerry Rosenthal is “lost history”.

Lost History refers to inaccurate archiving of historical documents. People waste time making decisions because they do not have the proper information used previously when the same or similar issue arose.

All industries and services are affected by waste. Many may not be aware that some of their processes need improvement. Having wasteful, non-value add activities takes away from overall customer value, which can decrease profit and quality of products and services. Are there wastes in your organization that are taking decreasing value?