January 6, 2020

Top Lean Manufacturing Principles to Reduce Waste

These lean manufacturing principles for your factory will help you reduce waste and identify where and how to streamline operations.

Lean Manufacturing
Top Lean Manufacturing Principles to Reduce Waste
Lean Manufacturing
Lean Manufacturing
Lean Manufacturing
Lean Manufacturing
Food & Beverages Processing
Text Link
Consumer Product Goods
Text Link
Material Building & Construction
Text Link
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)
Text Link
Pharmaceuticals & Supplements
Text Link
Packaging & Co-manufacturing
Text Link
Text Link

Implementing lean into an organization is a bigger job than merely initiating an improvement program. Classic lean is a methodology focused around continuously improving operations through an entire organization’s efforts. Though specific projects or programs can exist within a lean implementation, the overall concept is the continual elimination of any costs or activities that do not contribute value for the customer. One significant area of opportunity that should not be overlooked is the elimination of waste as it is defined under lean.

Lean’s Seven Deadly Wastes

Lean manufacturing principles include eliminating waste or non-value-added activities from across the manufacturing operation. Within lean, eliminating waste in seven key areas represents the most significant opportunities for cost improvement. These seven areas are referred to as “Lean’s Seven Deadly Wastes” and are discussed below. The acronym TIM WOOD is useful for remembering them:

  1. T—Transport
  2. I—Inventory
  3. M—Motion
  4. W—Waiting
  5. O—Over-processing
  6. O—Overproduction
  7. D—Defects

Several miscellaneous wastes, not part of the original list, have been added by managers, and these can also represent significant savings. Some of these include wasted abilities, incoming raw material defects, or lost opportunities.  

Apply Lean Principles to Capture Saving from Each Type of Waste

Removing or reducing waste is accomplished by applying different lean principles to each type. A successful lean program means making significant progress eliminating the cost of waste. Managers striving to implement lean manufacturing principles can begin by reviewing the following list.  


Principle:  Eliminate unnecessary transports, relocation, and motions of materials, tools, and people.  

Excess motion can occur between workstations, along production lines, or across the factory floor. Examine transports with respect to methods, volumes, and wait times. Use flow diagramming, design shorter travel distances, improved placement of inventory and tools, and reduced handling. Walking distances for personnel might also be shortened. 


Principle: Balance raw material and production against customer demands to reduce excess inventories.

Excess inventory often represents costs that can be eliminated. Reducing unnecessary inventory frees plant and warehouse space, eliminates invested capital, and reduces damage and obsolescence.  


Principle: Analyze workplace and process flows to eliminate non-value-added movement.

Each workstation should be analyzed to eliminate unnecessary employee reaches, grasps, pick-ups, or moves. Also, this lean manufacturing principle can be applied to machine operations and move distances. Equipment can be modified or adjusted to minimize the travel distance of the product, raw material, or packaging materials.


Principle: Eliminate any wait times for material, people, or equipment within or between operations. Ensure flows are balanced.

Unnecessary costs are added to a product whenever a material, machine, or employee waits during the product’s processing. Balancing process flows can reduce wait times, and managers should ensure output from one operation is correctly sized for the subsequent operation. Further, all production flows must be balanced to total customer order fulfillment rates.


Principle: Eliminate non-value-added process steps.

When processing steps do not add value for the customer, the steps incur unnecessary costs and represent waste. Analysis of a product’s manufacturing steps can uncover opportunities to reduce excess processing. An example of over-processing is double-checking a product quality when a single check is sufficient.


Principle: Eliminate excess work-in-process and finished goods inventory.

Excess inventories result from overproducing a part, sub-assembly, or finished product. These inventories are present as work-in-process or finished goods inventory. Analyzing this type of waste is especially important in food processing where the product is easily spoiled, damaged, or adversely impacted by the environment. 


Principle:  Eliminate all defects along the process flow and work toward “perfect” product quality.  

Defective product is easily recognizable as waste. Any rejected product that must be reworked or discarded adds cost to the total product for the customer. Eliminating this waste is clearly a lean objective. Incorrectly set quality control limits may cause rejection of an acceptable product or acceptance of a defective product. Process flows, control limits, and operating procedures should be analyzed to determine whether or not limits are correctly set and whether each step is necessary and adds value.  

Wastes Can Be Found Across the Organization

In addition to the above seven deadly wastes, managers have identified other areas where wastes can be eliminated. These include wasted talent, missed opportunities, and incoming raw material defects. These may include:

  • Poor communication
  • Misuse of ability and lack of training
  • Missed opportunities
  • Poor management
  • Ineffective policies  

Reclaiming the costs of wastes should be a top priority on any plant manager’s “to do” list. A practical, effective, and reasonably priced solution for cutting waste is utilizing the power of Worximity Inc.’s complete line of factory machine monitoring sensors and software. Using the latest in IoT technologies, Worximity delivers a practical, no-nonsense approach to monitoring process and production lines.  

Worximity’s suite of products includes sensors fastened to production machines, work stations, weight-checkers, and other devices. These sensors monitor the equipment and wirelessly transmit performance data to factory-based analytical software. Real-time results, such as OEE, are calculated and presented on factory-floor information dashboards or TileBoards. As minute-to-minute conditions change, any deviation from the expected performance is immediately noted, and employees can take corrective actions. To witness the capabilities of Worximity’s systems, contact us to schedule a free demonstration.   

Managers can use lean manufacturing principles throughout a plant’s processes to identify and eliminate costs. Losses through waste can be significant and efforts focused on waste elimination can pay big dividends. The seven deadly wastes, along with miscellaneous losses, should be major areas of study for companies striving to build the Smart Factory of tomorrow.

Related articles

Back to the blog
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.
Sep 2023

Smart Manufacturing: It's Not Only Productive, It's Sustainable

Production monitoring technology can serve as a crucial catalyst for manufacturers embarking on their ESG journey.

No items found.
Sep 2023

So Your Sales Are Down? Profitability Doesn't Have to Be

Learn how technology like production monitoring is helping manufacturers maintain profitability as sales soften.

No items found.
Sep 2023

Your Guide to Digital Transformation with Worximity

With Worximity, you don’t just get a technology provider, you get a partner who supports you throughout your manufacturing digital transformation.