Maximize Your Efficiency: A Comprehensive Guide to Lean Waste



With the New Year’s resolutions boiling, I wanted to give you a head start and put together a guide on lean waste.

Suppose 2023 is the year you want to minimize errors, deliver more value, develop your company culture and engage your employees. In that case, there’s no better way to start than removing waste from your processes.

Are you ready to positively impact your business? Then keep reading.

What are the benefits of implementing a lean waste strategy?

You might think the main benefits stay within the organization. We are trying to remove inefficiencies, costs, and waste at the end of the day, right?

You might be surprised because implementing lean methodologies is a way to satisfy your customers with fewer resources, adding more value to your product or service.

In the book Lean thinking, the authors James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones cover many ideas that have helped companies make themselves leaner and more efficient.

Some of the benefits of a lean waste strategy are:

  1. Increased efficiency and productivity. The main objective of the lean strategy is to remove non-value-added tasks and facilitate the transition to more efficient processes.
  2. Improved customer satisfaction. When we remove waste, we increase our response and flexibility to customer demands, improve lead times offered, and we see better quality delivered. If the organization improves in all these areas, customers will undoubtedly be more satisfied with our service or product.
  3. Reduced costs. It goes hand in hand with point number 1. If we need less to produce the same, we spend less to deliver to our customers.
  4. Increased profitability. If we increase efficiency, reduce costs, and subsequently improve customer satisfaction, we are potentially increasing the lifetime value of a customer, which will lead to bigger profits and margins.
  5. Enhanced sustainability. We live in a world where resources are finite (to this date). Consuming fewer resources will reduce our organization’s carbon footprint, making us greener and helping reduce emissions and the environmental impact we have in the world.

What are the 9 different wastes of lean?

In many books (like Lean thinking linked above) or resources there are talks about the 7 different types of waste that Mr. Taiichi Ohno contributed to developing in the Toyota Production System.

But new times create new situations, and new opportunities come up (and by opportunities, I mean challenges), so I brought you 2 more types of waste not seen very often in publications.

Do you want to know which 2 I have added? Then, click on the link to find out more.

How can I involve my employees in identifying and reducing waste?

Involving the workforce in our lean efforts is key to its success.

I am passionate about identifying areas of improvement, and I dedicated a whole article to identifying lean waste and key ideas to engage the workforce in that process.

Are you ready to uncover hidden issues and tackle new problems? If so, click the link above or the picture below to get started!

identify waste

It will put into perspective the importance of taking everything back to first principles and not assuming anything.

How can I measure the success of my lean waste efforts?

Everything must have some type of ROI, right?

If not, how could you explain to senior management the reasoning behind your lean strategy?

Well, this article explains why that might not be the best possible approach and why common sense is not common practice.

Some of the things I reference in that article explain the importance of having truly committed senior management to implement the lean strategy.

In my experience, there have been times when people say they want the change, but in reality, they just want to keep doing the same things with a fancier name, aka “Lean”.

So I give you a flavor of what’s to come and a set of 35 questions you can use to quantify your efforts.

Are all the wastes the same? A study of the most important types of waste for SMEs

The proof is in the pudding, and it’s no bueno if I talk about all of this without giving an actual example of what waste is in a real organization and how important those types are.

Thankfully for you and me, I found a study where we can see the importance of the different types.

This is very interesting because every organization has different challenges. Still, if we can systematize which ones are the most important depending on the scale of their operation, we can use the tools and ideas described above much more effectively.

I summarised the study’s findings in this article and added my perspective and experience.

Before you go…

This guide will help you boost the value of your organization, attract more prospects and customers, and increase your profits.

But the benefits continue beyond there. For even more insights on topics like quality management, check out our ultimate guide to the 12 essentials of quality management. Or, if you’re new to the concept, learn more with our comprehensive introduction to quality management.

If you found this article useful, let me know in the comments below, I read every comment, and it’s a fantastic way to create a community of like-minded people trying to provide more value.

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