no waste

returnRushing/ Unnecessary Movements

waste4

What is an unnecessary movement? It is anything that cannot be done simply, or cannot be done the first time. In Toyota-speak it is "work that is done for no good reason", or work that is pointless..

Going to get the same information three times because the first two searches lead to dead ends is an unnecessary movement, so are repeated trips to check for supplies when the delivery is repeatedly delayed.

Sometimes, a poorly designed working environment can mean people shifting and contorting their bodies or hands to get the job done. Similarly, these are pointless movements especially if we can design a more sensible work area. It is not simply a matter of aesthetics or ergonomics, nor is it solely about comfort. Instead it is about to designing a workplace that is not only safe but also allows you to work in an effective way. It is also about designing work or jobs such that the worker is not distracted by unnecessary movements.

The big problem with unnecessary movements is that they usually do not appear to be hugely troubling or a massive hassle. After all, what's a minute here or there? Since they appear to be small losses, people tend to ignore them or accept them because "that's how things are done around here..."

However, in a large scale manufacturing environment or anywhere else where a single piece of work is repeated many times, these individual minutes add up when they happen again and again. Think supermarket checkouts, checking insurance claims, answering calls in a call centre, dry lining a tower block, - all these workplaces have repeated activities and saving a minute here and there soon adds up.

Furthermore, the impacts are more than just time wasted, people get more tired when they have to carry out unnecessary movements or pointless activities. Tired people are more likely to make mistakes or have an accident. And when all these pointless activities are happening, you are still paying for lighting, heating, ventilation as though your productivity is at 100%.


This waste is part of the classic Toyota 7 Wastes, which formed the foundations of Lean Operations. Toyota believes that these 7 wastes are the reason why we have physical wastes. However, as these were originally developed for large scale manufacturing, we explored what these wastes mean in a generic sense and have changed some of the emphasis so that they can be readily applied to other business areas.