The Types of Waste

Personally, I try not to get too hung up on categories of waste, or naming wastes. People spend too much time deciding whether this-or-that activity is this-or-that type of waste, and get distracted from the task at hand: Smoothing out the work flow. But I also know people search for these terms, so as a service, here they are:

TIMWOOD

TIMWOOD is a memory aid for the “7 wastes.” I don’t know the origin of the mnemonic. I first encountered it at Eastman Kodak. As far as I know, it had entered Kodak via training materials from The Stanley Works. The “7 wastes” of TIMWOOD are:

  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Materials
  • Waiting
  • Overproduction
  • Overprocessing
  • Defects

CLOSED MITT

This one originates from work done at Boeing, and so is pervasive in aerospace. It was also propagated by Boeing’s consultant at the time, Deltapoint, (who has now morphed into a part of General Physics), so you will see it in their clients / former clients, and used by people who learned from them.

  • Complexity
  • Labor
  • Overproduction
  • Space
  • Energy
  • Defects
  • Materials
  • Idle Inventory
  • Time
  • Transportation

DOWNTIME

I read this one on the NWLEAN discussion group. I don’t know its origin. If you do, let me know and I’ll add it here.

  • Defects
  • Overproduction
  • Waiting
  • Not embracing change (waste of intellect)
  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Excess Processing

As you can see, these are all about the same. There is no point in wasting energy debating which ones are right. Rather, understand that kaizen is about eliminating all sources of waste.

4 Replies to “The Types of Waste”

  1. Years ago while at Delphi Automotive, they used the acronym COMMWIP
    Correction, Over Production, Motion, Material (movement), Waiting, Inventory, Processing (over)

    Just another example of the same concept.

  2. Mark,
    Downtime is what Nationwide uses to describe waste categories. I don’t know whether they originated it or if it comes from MoreSteam, our LSS training vendor.

    1. Jeff –
      The “DOWNTIME” mnemonic has been around for decades and is used by lots of authors and consultants these days.
      That being said, “Waste safari” is *not* what “lean” is about, even though a lot of people still teach it that way.

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