Classic Wastes are looked as blockage against the productivity. In a highly competitive world, it is not possible to enhance the top line by increasing the prices. Hence, it is necessary to build effective systems and one of the ways is to understand the ‘wastages’ and eliminating them.

Unlike the other categories of work, unplanned work is recovery work, which almost always takes you away from your goals. That’s why it’s so important to know where your unplanned work is coming from.

The Phoenix Project

Words like Muda, Muri and Mura have been popular since the advent of lean manufacturing as an effective tool to enhance productivity in manufacturing processes. Recognized as the 3M of wastages in manufacturing, they are interconnected to each other. The literal meaning of the three terms is waste (Muda), overburden (Muri) and unevenness (Mura). Let us now look at each one of them one at a time:


Muda refers to the wastage of unnecessary activities. Muda is said to occur when the time, money and other resources of the organization is expensed without adding any value to the customer. The best practice for recognizing Muda is to identify the activities in the process that needs to be eliminated or at least reduced. Seven basic types of Mudas have been identified:

  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
    • Bending
    • Reaching
    • Searching
  • Waiting
  • Over-processing
  • Overproducing
  • Defects


This is the kind of wastage that occur when the production output is much more than the requirement of the next process or customer. Overproduction is generally common when the manufacturer keeps the mindset of ‘just in case’, but it leads to wastage of production time, resources, storage space, and consider the case if the customer decides not to take the product, or the product spoils before the actual delivery.


Inefficient planning of inventory and ordering either less or more of inventory further leads to wastage. In case, extra materials are order, there may be a possibility of wastage due to changes in product specifications, storage and handling. Similarly, under production leads to stopped production and waiting!


Wastage of the operator time in avoidable events like failure of equipment, late arrival of necessary tools, lack of trained staff, inefficient planning and idle machine time leads to wastage. These all events leads to bottlenecks in time and hampers production, delay in delivery and even can cause missing of important deadlines. Moreover, just imagine that you are paying people for sitting idle and wait for things to fall in time.


Defects and broken parts adds to the dissatisfaction among customers, and the company would be busy solving problems, reworking and even paying off to the customers for the defects.


Wastage due to unnecessary movement of parts and products between different processes and places. It generally happens due to inefficient work processes, non- standardized procedures and untrained staff.

Over- processing:

Unnecessary performance of any process due to design failure or usage of poor quality of tools and processes. It leads to wastage of time, resources and energy to produce products, and are generally results from unnecessary manufacturing steps, outdated processes and methods.

Transport & Handling:

This Muda can be observed in many activities, like shipping damage, packing material wastage, inefficient utilization of space while loading trucks, inefficient motions of the staff while lifting and handling materials and products.


Muri is the wastage caused due to overburdening your machines and staff. It causes stress and pressure on your resources- both human and physical by placing unnecessary and unreasonable demands on them. It should be noted that Muri even leads to Muda by adding non- value adding steps within the process. Some of the instances of Muri include working on processes without proper training, unclear instructions, lack of proper tools and equipment and poor communication tools.

It is highly essential to eliminate or at least reduce Muri. Remember that a ‘penny saved is better than a penny earned’. When the company stresses its resources, it hampers the productivity and finally impacts the bottom line adversely. Hence, it is extremely important to undertake all efforts in order to establish efficient processes that help to maximize the yield without over-burdening the staff and machinery.


Mura refers to a type of inconsistency or irregularity. This inconsistency can be witnessed in many parts of a production system like material flows, uneven demands of the customer, fluctuating inventory, inconsistent quality of goods produced, uneven training of staff, uneven distribution of workflow and erratic work schedules.

Mura leads to accumulation of Muda, hampers the production schedules, inventory and other wastages and adversely affects the profitability of the company.

Effects of Eliminating the Classic Wastes on Quality

Elimination of wastes like storage, transport, and handling all can help increase quality – even more so than some improvements to standard work, like standard work sheets for example.

Things like set up reduction improve productivity and efficiency more than they do quality.

Lean Classic Wastes Videos

ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt Classic Wastes Questions

Question: Correction, over-production, inventory, and motion are all examples of
(A) waste
(B) 5S target areas
(C) noise
(D) value-added activities


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Comments (4)

In the context of the question, corrective activity is an indication of waste. All of the resources expended on correction could have been put towards more throughput on the process but instead they were diverted to fix things that should have been right the first time.

Similarly, you can look a the other options. Inventory & overproduction is a kind of waste in a Just-in-time delivery sense because those goods are just sitting there. They are not being used by the client and they are not generating revenue.


I would like to practice with the 7 waste evaluation from the video sheets for an office settings. Please do you have a copy that I can use

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