8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing ‘TIMWOODS’

One of the most fundamental criteria for developing a successful firm is eliminating unproductive tasks (wastes). This concept is a key component of Lean thinking, and it can help you boost your profits.

The 8 wastes of Lean Manufacturing are what we are attempting to eliminate from our operations by removing the causes of Mura and Muri as well as directly addressing Muda. But what exactly are the 8 Lean Manufacturing wastes (or 8 Mudas)?

The seven wastes (Muda) were developed by Taiichi Ohno, the Chief Engineer at Toyota, as part of the Toyota Production System (TPS). The seven wastes are Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Overprocessing, and Defects. They are often referred to by the acronym ‘TIMWOOD’.

When the Toyota Production System was adopted in the Western world in the 1990s, the 8th waste of non-utilized talent or ‘Skills’ of workers was introduced. As a result, the eight wastes have become known as TIMWOODS. We’ll go over each of these wastes in-depth in the next section.

The Seven Wastes of Lean Manufacturing are;

  1. Transport
  2. Inventory
  3. Motion
  4. Waiting
  5. Over Production
  6. Over-Processing
  7. Defects
  8. Skils

What is waste?

“Something that adds no Value.”

Would you be willing to pay for the sewing operators’ wages as they sat idle waiting for input, or for the rework processes that were required because the machine was wrongly adjusted, or even for the rechecking of your product due to problems discovered during final inspection?

These wastes are factored into the price of your products, either raising the price or lowering the company’s profit margin.

Your profit is the difference between your FOB/CM price and your costs. Buyers will go elsewhere if you price too much. As a result, the only option to increase your earnings is to lower your costs, which involves eliminating all waste from your processes. 

Waste has a significant impact on your customers’ satisfaction with your products and services, in addition to increasing your revenues. Your customers want prompt delivery, excellent quality, and fair pricing.
If you let the 7 wastes to persist in your processes, you will not be able to generate a profit in today’s price-competitive market.

1. Transport


Transport is one of the seven wastes of lean manufacturing (muda), it is the movement of products from one location to another. This could be from the cutting to the stitching floor, or from the production facility to the printing unit in some other location. This transportation adds no value to the product.

Moving half stitch pcs to a bartack/buttonhole machine in some other line or department or lines, transporting stitched garments from sewing floor to finishing department, Moving garment bundles in the line using center table, bins or trolley.

There are few areas where transportation can’t be eliminated but think how transportation time can be reduced. Setting up effective line layout with all required machine, equipment, single pcs moment or using overhead transportation rail in sewing lines are few examples which can reduce the transport time.

2. Inventory

In a lean manufacturing environment, waste of inventory is considered one of the 7 major wastes. Although some level of inventory may make good business sense, you will want to avoid carrying excess inventory. Inventory will hide many problems in your company. The best way to reveal these problems is to lower your inventory. The five major categories of inventory we will review are finished goods, sub-assembly, raw components, office supplies and MRO(Maintenance, Repair and Operations/Overhaul)

3. Motion

Big wastes of motion are easily recognizable and are often eliminated through common sense. When the layout of a work area is excessively large, often as a byproduct of overproduction, distances increase, leading to a more wasted motion

The main causes of the waste of motion are with regards to cell layout, placing product at floor level on pallets, poorly arranged space, tools that are disorganized, lack of space and organization for component parts and so on.

Resources are wasted when workers have to bend, reach or walk distances to do their jobs. You can see many examples while walking on a Cutting, production or finishing floor. A unorganized tool room or a un indexed accessory store are the best examples of motion waste.

Another problem can be the design of your working method, does it cause you to constantly turn and rearrange the product being worked on? Design of the product itself can impact in the same manner.

4. Waiting

This waste is defined as people or things waiting around for the next action.

How many times have you seen sewing operators stood waiting for a previous operation, or there is no work for pressmen in the finishing section, a line sitting idle due to unavailability of cutting, these all are the commonly seen examples of waiting waste.

You pay for the time spent by all of your employees, time that they do not spend adding value while they are waiting, and often the time spent waiting is made up later during overtime at a premium rate. The cost of the time spent waiting will come directly from your profit.

5. Over Production

Producing items more than required at a given point of time is overproduction simple words procuring/producing excess inventories is overproduction

Over producing leads to other types of wastes also. It will lead to excess inventory, which will result in increased material handling and increased men hours and working cost. Sometimes even extra resources will be required to store or move this material.

You can easily see this in many garments factories where they stock lots of inventories to feed the next department/operation. For example, you can see a big stock of ready cut panels in cutting department or the excess WIP in lines and finishing department.

Excess WIP is one of the major cause of many quality related issues. FIFO (First In/First Out) will become difficult with the extra inventory and this could cause further problems.

Most of the time you end up with the poor handling when you have excess inventories and that’s create the most basic but the most commonly encountered problem, stains and dirt marks.

6. Over-Processing

Over-Processing Waste is extra effort or activities that add no value from the customer/patient perspective. By adding work that is not required, over-processing costs you money with regards to the time of the workforce. These costs can amount to a considerable sum over a period of time, they will also reduce the output due to reduced efficiencies

Checking the same garment multiple times or adding a operations that may not be essential to give the final look and construction or adding run stitches before final operations to make operator more comfortable instead of training or on machine template are commonly seen over-processing examples in apparel industry.

7. Defects

These are products or services that do not conform to the specification or Customer’s expectation, thus causing Customer dissatisfaction

Defects can be caused by many different reasons, It should be avoidable with a little thought when designing your products, processes and equipment.

Many defects are caused by incorrect method due to non-standard operations, processes, methods or operators do not assemble them correctly and so on.Fail to maintain equipment, machines and fixtures also allowing defects to occur.

In a garment factory the most common defects are stains, broken stitches shade variation, wrong cutting, measurements problems etc.Factory needs to correct/repair these defects, which attracts additional cost.

8. Skills:- The 8th Waste


Despite the fact that it was not included in the Toyota Production System (TPS), many people are aware of the 8th waste – the waste of human potential. The eighth waste is often known as the waste of untapped human talent and inventiveness.

It is difficult to enhance processes when frontline workers’ knowledge and experience are not utilized. This is because the individuals doing the task are the most capable of spotting problems and finding solutions to them.

Non-utilized talent in the workplace could include insufficient training, bad incentives, failing to solicit employee input, and placing individuals in jobs that are beneath their talents and qualifications.

This waste can be evident in manufacturing when people are inadequately trained when employees do not know how to operate equipment properly, when employees are given the wrong tool for the job, and when employees are not challenged to come up with ideas to better the task.

Identifying and Getting Rid of the Eight Wastes

Recognizing that waste exists and having an efficient strategy for detecting it is the first step in decreasing it. VSM (Value Stream Mapping) is a Lean management technique for examining the current situation and planning for the future. It depicts the flow of data and material as it occurs. VSM is a useful tool for sketching out the processes involved, visualizing the relationships between production processes, and distinguishing between value-added and non-value-added activities.


Use the VSM to detect wastes and start at the bottom. Work your way backward from the end customer to the beginning of the manufacturing process. Identify instances of the eight wastes in the processes and devise a strategy to eliminate or reduce them.

Continue to challenge your staff to uncover further wastes and improve your procedures. Engage frontline employees and elicit their suggestions for change.
As your team continues to reduce inefficiencies, they will build confidence in their problem-solving talents, and waste reduction will become a part of their regular routine over time.

Prakash Dutt

Prakash is a solid apparel professional with broad experience in apparel manufacturing, sourcing, quality management, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. He is a lean management professional (lean six sigma black belt), innovative and open to trying the opportunity for new technology and changes in the industry.

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1 Response

  1. Md. Mofidul Islam Rabbee says:

    Best way to learn

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