no waste

waste5Errors and Defects

waste5This is probably the most obvious of wastes. You may think, "..well, nobody is perfect and we have a quality assurance team that goes round and does the snagging..."

There are several problems with this attitude:

Most importantly, fixing a problem after the work is complete costs a lot more and the fixing actions may introduce new errors. Imagine taking a completed car apart to fix something, and then reassembling it again. The effort required can be quite significant and it is likely to throw the schedule out too.

However, we are only human and we all make mistakes. The thing to do is not lambast people for their mistakes but instead find out why the mistakes are occurring and dealing with that instead. The Cause-Effect Analysis is a good place to start: maybe people need the right skills, or perhaps they should be given more precise information, or maybe their tools and equipment are not right, or the workplace is too cramped. By tackling the causes of the mistakes, you should be able to eliminate a good number and help your teams reduce their errors and mistakes.


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.