8 Wastes of Lean – TIMWOODS
To create a seamless flow of value that goes all the way to the customer without interruption, waste needs to be reduced. This brings as to an enemy that causes waste in organizational processes, and it goes by the acronym TIMWOODS. Each letter in TIMWOODS represents a type of waste (they are also known as the eight wastes of Lean Six Sigma).
Keep on reading to find out what each of those letters means.
When products, equipment, inventory, tools and people move further than they need to, you have Transportation waste. Defects and damage to products can happen when materials travel unnecessary distances. Furthermore, exhaustion, accelerated wear and tear and needless work can happen when equipment and people are moved unnecessarily. Transportation also requires packaging to protect items, and can require fuel to transport the items. The transportation time is not improving the value of the item, so it takes time which is a delay for the customer.
Since value is being stored for a fee (probably in a warehouse), Inventory waste is common in manufacturing. Inventory is any value, whether materials or finished products, that either needs to be turned into something more valuable or sold to customers. And since overhead is being paid to store the products or materials, their value is reduced the longer they remain in there since their profit margin declines with each passing day. For office processes, inventory is a list of action items, your email inbox, and any work you have started but have not fully completed. In your personal life, it is the food in your refrigerator, clothes in your closet, and that book you started writing that you haven’t finished yet!
When machinery, equipment and people move unnecessarily, it leads to Motion waste. The movement can be anything, such as moving, stretching, bending, reaching, lifting and walking, that doesn’t bring any value. There is a need to redesign all work that leads to Motion waste while ensuring productivity and safety is maximized.
When producing a product for consumers, any inaction that increases costs is known as Waiting. This is waste because while the product awaits its transformation, the organization is incurring overhead. Essentially, any potential profit the product would have made from being sold is continuously stripped as the organization continues to incur overhead from Waiting. Eventually, this contributes to Inventory waste as well, on top of destroying the flow of information and production materials. Waiting occurs in service processes as well, such as waiting for approvals, waiting for someone to return from vacation, and waiting due to confusion or indecision about what to do next in a process that is not well-defined.
When there are more steps, components or there’s work being put into the production of a product that the customer doesn’t require, Overprocessing occurs. In the case of manufacturing, this includes adding in more functionality into the product than needed, making adjustments to already installed components, taking a solution and overengineering it, performing unnecessary analyses, pushing components beyond their limits and unnecessarily using high precision equipment. When packaging a product, can it be taped with one strip of tape or does it actually need 3 strips? In the office, does your manager want a 3-page project update or just one paragraph? Do your customers actually look at all the charts you create, or just one key chart, and ignore the rest?
If there’s one waste that can negatively impact the success of an organization as a whole, it is Overproduction. When more products or materials have been produced than customers are willing to buy, that is when overproduction happens. When your organization overproduces what it is offering, other wastes can occur as well. These include Motion, Waiting and Inventory. In the office, if you start working on a presentation for a meeting too early, there is a chance that the meeting gets delayed or cancelled, and you will have wasted that time, or have to go back and update your slides with the latest information. The goal is to do work “just in time” not too far in advance when things can change or get rescheduled.
Defects are the most recognizable forms of waste when it comes to Lean Six Sigma, especially when it comes to manufacturing. In manufacturing, instances of Defects include details missing in assemblies, end products that are in need of reworking and scrapped components and products. This waste is one of the biggest when it comes to manufacturing since it also leads to Overprocessing, Transportation and Overproduction waste. Defects also occur in the office and service processes, with incorrect invoice amounts, wrong customer ID numbers, emails sent to the wrong person, and spelling errors.
This waste has another name: Non-Utilized Talent. This particular waste can affect different types of organizations in various industries (so far, all the examples we have seen have to do with the manufacturing industry). This waste happens when management doesn’t use all of its workers to their fullest ability.
This type of waste also occurs when management decides to improve their processes while ignoring feedback from their employees, even when it comes to continuous improvement. If employees who directly deal with the processes are not allowed to voice their input when it comes to improving them, especially on an ongoing basis, this is considered non-utilized talent – a waste.
Knowing these wastes is a step in the right direction towards eliminating them. You can’t even begin to improve a process unless you know what is causing a drop in performance in the first place. To that end, TIMWOODS is an important acronym to know.