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Keys to Successful Business Growth: “That’s what Lean is all about!”

The concept of waste within manufacturing has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Currently, there are eight different types of “waste” that cost manufacturers money every day. These wastes often go unnoticed by those who create them (often unintentionally) due to a lack of knowledge about Lean techniques, reduction techniques, and other best practices for continuous improvement.

Lean’s definition of “waste” is anything that adds cost or time without adding value. This blog explains how each of the below wastes negatively impacts manufacturing operations, and why they are important to reduce and eliminate.

The eight kinds of waste include:

1) Overproduction – Overproduction involves creating either unnecessary products or unnecessarily adding assembly steps. In Bending and Punching Operations, this waste occurs when a part is manufactured not-to-spec, or if the part actually has flaws.

2) Transportation – Transportation is the transportation of unprocessed materials, semi-finished goods, or finished goods between operations or workstations. Bending and punching operations often involve a lot of transportation of finished goods between workstations, and the transportation of both raw and semi-finished materials.

3) Waiting – Waiting is the process of waiting for materials, equipment, or employees. Bending and punching operations can involve large amounts of waiting while parts and equipment are being manufactured.

4) Motion – Motion is the movement of people or equipment in a non-productive fashion. Motion waste usually originates when employees perform unnecessary tasks to get from one working area to another.

5) Over-processing – Over-processing is when a product is worked on for too long (or vice versa). In bending and punching operations, over-processing can occur when parts are worked too much causing their required hardness to be compromised.

6) Defects – Defects are parts that are rejected due to their imperfections. Defects are a major waste that results from unexpected design flaws or costly product failure.

7) Excess Inventory – Excess Inventory is the extra inventory of a product that is sitting in storage or on the production floor. Excess Inventory can be caused by overproduction, delays in production, or defects.

8) Excess Over-Production – Excess Over-Production is when there is too much product being produced for a particular market or customer.


The points above are just some of what you need to know about waste and continuous improvement, but hopefully, they will help you get started on the right foot. As technology advances, new and more complex wastes will appear, but as long as you have a good understanding of the basics, you should be ready to face any new innovations.