Is it 7 or 8 or 9??

Is it 7 or 8 or 9??

TPS specifies 7 types of Muda (Waste). Reference:Ohno’soriginal bible ‘Toyota Production System’ -pages 19, 20. The Japanese version was published in 1978 & the English translation in 1988.

Somewhere down the line people started talking about the 8th waste – that of under-utilized or un-utilized human potential. One wonders about the origin of this 8th?

As early as 1984, the Japanese version of Canon Production System (the English version was published in 1987) talked of ‘9 types of wastes hidden in everyday operations’. Their 9 wastes were (pages 17, 18 of the English version):

  1. Waste caused by work-in-process
  2. Waste caused by defects
  3. Waste in equipment
  4. Waste in expenses
  5. Waste in indirect labour
  6. Waste in planning
  7. Waste in human resources
  8. Waste in operations
  9. Waste in startup

They were categorized under

Products: 3 wastes [Quality – defects; Cost – planning; Delivery Time – work-in-process] 

Resources: 5 wastes [people – operations, indirect labor, human resources;equipment; money – expenses] 

Startups: 1 waste

Although this seems to be the very first version of where ‘human resources’ is mentioned as a waste; the context seems to differ from TPS’s 7 wastes. When & how this waste got added to the TPS7 is not clear. 

Why did the TPS7 became the more popular version;& not the CPS9? May be just because Toyota was the origin!!

There is no doubt that being finicky about number of wastes could itself be termed as a Muda (non value-adding) or waste! As long as we understand the essence of waste, and are able to identify-reduce all kind of wastes; and identify-eliminate some kinds of wastes, we are on the right track!

However, I feel that there was a corollary, perhaps an un-intended consequence of not listing out a specific waste – the 8th one, so explicitly! The entire body-of-knowledge around ‘Lean’ seemed to revolve around finding countermeasures for the TPS7! Not much literature was available to counter the 8th one! After so many years of ‘tool based Lean’, only in recent years attention has started getting to the 8th waste – TWI (the 3 J programs), A3s, Toyota Kata etc. are addressing it.

The above recognition has triggered the theme of IndiZen2014, the 5th National Convention on Operational Excellence planned at Hotel Hyatt, Pune on Feb 11 & 12. This year’s theme is ‘Employee Excellence for Operational Excellence’.The TWI Guru, Donald Dinero from the US will be a keynote speaker. He has authored two books

  • Training Within Industry – the Foundation of Lean (Winner of the Shingo Award)
  • TWI Case Studies – Standard Work, Continuous Improvement & Teamwork (Interestingly, this book contains some of our own case studies from India & Africa!)

We invite readers to mark their calendars & register themselves quickly for this remarkable event & draw inspiration from professionals& fellow practitioners who are expected to throng the event in large numbers.

We, the Kaizen Institute team, look forward to seeing you in Pune.

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