Wow, looking at Muda

There are some very interesting concepts in this science called Six Sigma. Take a look at this:

Muda’s Eight Forms of Waste Muda is the Japanese term for waste, or in other words, anything that consumes resources and produces no value.  While most materials explaining the basics of muda focus on only seven forms of waste, there are often more categories available for identification. Some sources cite even more than eight, though eight has become the newly “accepted” number when numbering the various categories of muda.

With the help of lean manufacturing, you are better able to look at your business’s visible cause and effects. When doing this, there are some areas in your business you want to be sure get some attention. These include missing or broken tools, machines, equipment, movement and motion, inventory, excessive wait or lag times, and clutter. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are great places to begin focusing on when looking to identify muda.  These issues seem obvious but it can take an untrained/outside eye to question and identify these things. Often, supervisors from other departments are asked to examine each other’s work areas as a way of ensuring the space is being viewed with “fresh eyes.”

Once these problems are identified, Six Sigma and lean manufacturing are called upon to help you both identify these problems and correct them for the long-term. Muda is the essential component of this process and it’s vital to have a clear understanding of the eight categories and how the waste at your company is classified according to these. Do not be discouraged when you find that you have all eight kinds of waste present in your business processes. You will soon recognize that all eight forms are present in almost any business or process.

The first of the eight forms of muda is the category more recently added, which is wasted human potential. This is essentially the underutilization of workers due to either inappropriate job placement or unnecessary job processes.  This form of muda is considered more subjective but it should never be underestimated.  The second form is mistakes, also known as defective products and/or flawed services. This category is self-explanatory and accounts for all the “seconds” or “throw aways” you have at your business.

The third category is overproduction. This may not seem like a problem but too much inventory is a waste of space and money. Inventory is a fourth category, with a fifth being the unnecessary processing of a product. Unnecessary processing includes steps added to the process with no value. The sixth and seventh are similar, with the unnecessary movement of people (motion that takes extra time) and the unnecessary transportation of things. A final category is queuing or waiting that is excessive or wasteful.

When reviewing your processes within the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies identify areas fitting these categories and then meet with your team to solve the issues in order to eliminate all muda.

Six Sigma Online


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