By Ron Updated on June 4th, 2007

If you pick up any book about Lean or attend a Lean training course you will likely hear how overproduction is the mother of all wastes. OK, in the truest sense it probably is… especially for those that manufacture any type of product.

But as I sit on this lovely airplane hoping to eventually take off (30 minutes late as I type this sentence) I must admit waiting seems like the worst of all wastes. In fact, at this moment in time, I could care less about any stupid overproduction.

Let’s have a quick review of the 7 deadly wastes for those not familiar with what I am talking about. I am sure several consulting firms will say they came up with the acronym I am about to share… and before the Lean police come for me I will admit this is not my own invention.

Anyhow, here is the easiest way to remember the 7 deadly wastes identified many moons ago by some folks in Japan. So, without further WAITING, let me introduce Tim Wood.


If you want to get really tricky you can add the waste of “Skills” (meaning when you don’t take advantage of everyone’s abilities) which will make it TIM WOODS.

It is my opinion that the muda of waiting is the number one enemy for service related companies. Think about it… nothing is worse than waiting in line to see a movie, waiting to see the doctor, waiting to clear customs after a 12 hour flight to Brazil, waiting for your food at a crowded restaurant when your kids are hungry and cranky, etc.

So if you are in the business of serving people in any way please takes my advice and focus on how you can eliminate waiting… your customers will appreciate it especially me if you work for the airline industry.

Until next time, I wish you all the best on your journey towards continuous improvement.

  1. Michael Moran

    July 27, 2009 - 9:22 am

    I noticed that you referred to TIMWOODS as a way to remember waste. I created TIMWOODS in January of 2000 and was hoping that you would reference this when using it for educational purposes. I can send you the entire PowerPoint slide show if you would like. It is about 9 pages and includes an illustration of Tim himself. I was known as The Moran3 Company back then and it would be nice to see that legacy of TIMWOODS continue and include his illustration.

  2. Henry Segalini

    January 25, 2010 - 3:19 pm

    I am preparing for my Black Belt LSS and would love to see your slide show if still available.


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