The truth behind the 7 wastes…not what most people think !
In most training courses about the ‘7 wastes’ ( or the 8 wastes … TIM WOOD, DOWNTIME, WORM PIT etc ) it is taught as if there was something magical and all-inclusive about this number 7 ( or 8). This was certainly not the intention of Taiichi Ohno, originator of the 7 wastes at Toyota and architect of TPS. The true intention of Ohno was to give a few examples of some key area where waste if found, however he made it clear that wasted time, effort, energy is present wherever work is being done and can take many different forms depending on what we are working on. The important point is to be able to recognize where the waste is in our work and to always strive to reduce it. On page 175 of the 100th Birthday edition of ‘Workplace Management’ by Taiichi Ohno ( original Japanese edition 1982 ), Ohno is quoted as follows, and I think this explains all that needs to be said :
‘‘…people often talk ‘ about ‘the seven types of waste’. This might have started when the book came out, but waste is not limited to seven types. There is an old expression : ‘He without bad habits has seven’, meaning even if you think there is no waste you will find seven types. So I came up with Overproduction, Waiting etc., but that doesn’t mean that there are only seven types. So don’t bother thinking about ‘what type of waste is this?’ Just get on with it an do kaizen. ’’
( Quote on p 175, references on p 179 Workplace Management :Taiicho Ohno 100th Birthday edition. )