The 8 wastes from the Toyota Production System (TPS)

Overproduction, inventory, transportation or processes incorrectly are some of the wastes to be taken into account to improve the efficiency of the activities carried out and the product and / or service offered to the customer.


The overproduction, the inventory or the transport are some of the despercidios that looks for to control and to eliminate the Production System of Toyota.

If we evaluate the company dissecting on one hand those activities that generate value from those that do not, we will realize that a large number of hours of our daily activity is focused on doing work that does not bring any difference to the product and / or service offered to the customer.

From the TPS (Toyota Production System) base it is conceived that the manufacturing process must be evaluated not by processes but also from the perspective or vision of the customer, both external and internal (to expand this concept I recommend reading the article ” Suppliers and internal customers within companies “).

In this way the value of a specific activity is distinguished and it is possible to separate it from those that do not have it. Although, obviously, there are jobs that, although they do not add value to the customer, are necessary to guarantee the quality and effectiveness of the product and / or service offered. With this information it is possible to include small improvements that make a big difference only by focusing on those activities that generate value.

In addition, with an adequate objectivity we will distinguish those activities that are classified as waste, that is, actions that do not contribute anything to the product and / or service but suppose an increase of time, space, work or money.

Reducing these eight wastes, which I will explain below, can improve efficiency and effectiveness, adapt to customer needs, eliminate risks associated with the activity, provide the flexibility to adapt to changes and make better use of available resources, to name a few. the benefits.

So, let’s see what the 8 rubbish is to reduce!

1st Waste: Overproduction.


This waste focuses on overproduction including all those products and / or services that are made in greater proportion than what the market requests or for which it has not requested.

It is customary to produce this waste in production lines that do not stop to avoid the costs of shutdown and ignition and the time required to perform these activities, or when it is done to dispose of a warehouse in the event of an unexpected increase on orders.

Overproduction means having more facilities with the considerable increase of resources needed and have a very efficient logistics that can cause them to fall into other wastes that we will see below.

2nd Waste: Waits.


This is one of the most frequent waste due to the fact that it is any delay or expectation that may end up impacting on the customer. It can also occur internally in the production environment, for example, when it is necessary to wait for a part to arrive and the process can continue.

Some examples of these wastes are:

waiting time for lack of human resources, machines, materials, information, etc., necessary to continue the work
bottlenecks in the process
delays because it is necessary the signature of a responsible that supposes the suspension of the activity.
surveillance of automatic machines.
If we combine with the previous we can think that they are contradictory because if we eliminate or reduce the products of the warehouses, there will be periods of inactivity waiting for a piece to arrive or a previous step.

The key here is to combine both activities, having a system that allows for fair articles to avoid waiting and avoid falling into other wastes such as inventory or defects.

3rd Waste: Transport.


As transport is meant the movement of materials and information from one place to another due to poor design or planning.

Some examples may be:

sending emails between several departments before their final destination
transport of materials from one place to another
inefficient flow.
movement of finished articles from one warehouse to another
It is logical to think that if we have to put together two pieces to create the final product that is offered to the client, but both pieces are placed at one hour from the location where the last activity is to be carried out, the transfer time is time to be added to the equation of product realization. In other words, if it takes 3 minutes for the assembly of the part, in this specific case it would take 1 hour and 3 minutes, which would have to add the time of putting together the order of pieces to be transportation, unpacking and placement of the parts received in an internal warehouse waiting for them to be used. And all this time spent affects the cost of realization of the final product.

4 Waste: Process incorrectly.

This waste comes from complex processes in which unnecessary tasks and redundant steps do not add value to the final result from the perspective That is to say, the extra processing occurs when it is necessary to complete extra fields that require unnecessary information from the client since it does not affect an effective improvement, redundant process steps that involve more time in doing a task already done, a excess of necessary signatures and unnecessarily complete records, formats or documents that do not provide an additional value, etc.

For the TPS we should not forget that not everything should be assessed from the point of view of defects, but produce products with a quality superior to the requested one is also a waste, since the client has not requested nor pays for it. 5 Waste: Inventory.In some companies, inventory is considered an asset, however maintaining and managing it effectively involves time, money and resources, both human, logistic and space, which ends up making it a liability and in the long run is a waste.Adopt a Just-in-Time thinking is very effective to avoid having to check, clean, control and remove those products that are not necessary, outdated or expired. In addition, it can mask other waste such as overproduction or defects that would not be detected until a later time and of which it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to determine the real cause for which they occurred.

6 Waste: Movement.

This waste refers to excessive movement in the performance of a task. It can not be confused with the previous transport waste since this refers to an excess of movement of the piece or product through the whole process, whereas the movement is focused on the people and the displacements that it has to realize to complete the task carried out and that increases the time to do so. One of the greatest examples of this waste are nurses who walk for much of their day to perform different tasks in various sections of hospitals and who assume that a large part of its activity is used in the displacements by the building. Some examples are: inefficient organization of the workplace of the location of resources, supplies, tools, etc. paper place

7 Waste: Defectos.

Se is understood defect everything that was not realized or completed correctly, which usually means redoing it using more time and resources to achieve the objective or expected. It can be caused by a lack of information, non-functional processes or inadequate services that make the product and / or service that reaches the customer inadequate or incomplete. Some examples of defects can be identified as errors that occur over and over and indicating that the process is defective, low customer satisfaction, need to look for the right person to complete information about the product and / or service due to a failure in the same or errors in shipping or delivery to the client.

8 Waste: Talent 

This is a waste of intellectual character and implies ignorance and lack of utilization of the talent, skills, knowledge and experience that is available among the company’s staff and that would enable an active and constant improvement.

The lack of use of available talent leads to discouragement because the person does not feel appreciated in this work environment and, with it, the company loses a know-how, suggestions, active involvement in increasing efficiency, use of creativity for the solution of problems or lack of involvement in the active formation, keys to the growth and greater position in the market of the future.


It can be observed that all wastes are highly interrelated, for example, overproduction causes the need to carry out an inventory, needs transport or masks defects.

We can think that there is no problem in having a large warehouse of parts to use as it will streamline the manufacturing process, but if it does not manage efficiently and reduces to what is necessary, it falls into the demotivation, lack of habits of efficiency, not to see the need to perform a preventive maintenance of the machines or failures in the detection of errors.

Let’s think for a moment of a situation where a failure is detected by assembling two pieces because one of them has a 1 mm offset that prevents it from fitting with the other piece. Discovering this can make us think, It’s a good thing I have a stock in the warehouse and I can simply set aside the defective parts and then continue to work!

However, separating these defective parts involves using a specific warehouse or zones, plus we do not know how many pieces are defective because they have been detected several weeks after their manufacture. On the other hand, it shows us that the machine that made it has a deviation that makes it necessary to control more directly the measurements of the parts that are made in it.

The 8 wastes from the Toyota Production System (TPS)

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