In today’s competitive business landscape, companies strive for operational excellence and efficiency to gain a competitive edge. One proven methodology that helps organizations achieve these goals is Lean Manufacturing. Lean Manufacturing is a systematic approach that focuses on eliminating waste and creating value for the customer. Central to this methodology are the “7 Wastes,” also known as the “7 Mudas,” which identify common sources of inefficiency within manufacturing processes. By understanding and addressing these wastes, companies can streamline their operations and maximize productivity.

The 7 Wastes


Overproduction occurs when more products are manufactured than the demand requires. This waste ties up valuable resources, including materials, labor, and storage space, without adding value. Overproduction leads to excess inventory, increased lead times, and the risk of obsolescence. Lean Manufacturing emphasizes producing only what is needed, when it is needed, to eliminate this waste.


Waiting refers to any idle time experienced by employees or equipment during the manufacturing process. This waste can result from equipment breakdowns, material shortages, or poor planning. Waiting negatively impacts productivity, leads to longer lead times, and increases costs. Lean Manufacturing aims to minimize waiting times through efficient scheduling, effective maintenance practices, and better coordination between departments.


Transportation waste occurs when materials or products are moved excessively between different locations or processes. Unnecessary transportation not only consumes time but also increases the risk of damage or loss. Lean Manufacturing encourages the reorganization of production layouts, reducing distances and movement to eliminate this waste. It also emphasizes using pull systems to bring materials directly to the production line when needed.


Excess inventory ties up capital, consumes storage space, and increases the risk of waste or obsolescence. It also hides underlying problems such as defects or production inefficiencies. Lean Manufacturing promotes the use of just-in-time (JIT) principles, where materials are delivered as needed, reducing inventory levels while improving flow and responsiveness.


Motion waste refers to any unnecessary movement or motion required by employees to complete a task. This can include reaching for tools, excessive walking, or searching for information. Motion waste leads to fatigue, decreased productivity, and increased risk of injury. Lean Manufacturing aims to optimize workstations and processes to eliminate unnecessary motion, ensuring that employees can perform their tasks with minimal effort and maximum efficiency.


Overprocessing waste occurs when more work is done than what is required by the customer. This waste can involve excessive inspections, redundant process steps, or using expensive equipment for simple tasks. Overprocessing adds unnecessary costs and time to production without adding value. Lean Manufacturing advocates for process simplification, standardization, and error-proofing to eliminate this waste.


Defects waste refers to any products or components that do not meet quality standards and require rework, repair, or scrapping. Defects waste leads to increased costs, customer dissatisfaction, and potential safety issues. Lean Manufacturing emphasizes building quality into the production process, focusing on prevention rather than detection. By using tools like root cause analysis and mistake-proofing techniques, defects can be minimized, and overall quality improved.

By identifying and eliminating these seven wastes, Lean Manufacturing provides a framework for continuous improvement and waste reduction. Implementing Lean principles requires a commitment from all levels of the organization, as well as a culture of continuous learning and problem-solving. It involves empowering employees to identify and address waste, fostering collaboration and communication between departments, and embracing change as a means to drive improvement.

How can SmartSpace® address the 7 wastes?

Ubisense’s SmartSpace can help address the 7 wastes by providing real-time visibility and data-driven insights for manufacturing processes. Here’s how it can specifically address each waste:

Transportation waste: SmartSpace can track the movement of materials, products, and equipment within the manufacturing facility. By optimizing the flow and reducing unnecessary transportation, it minimizes the waste associated with excessive movement.

Inventory waste: SmartSpace enables real-time inventory tracking and management. It provides accurate data on inventory levels, locations, and usage, allowing manufacturers to optimize inventory levels, minimize excess stock, and reduce the waste of overproduction.

Motion waste: By using SmartSpace, manufacturers can analyze and optimize the layout of their production lines and workstations. This helps reduce unnecessary movements, streamline workflows, and eliminate wasted motion, improving overall efficiency.

Waiting waste: Real-time monitoring and alerts allow manufacturers to identify bottlenecks, delays, and idle time in the production process. By addressing these issues promptly, manufacturers can minimize waiting waste and keep production flowing smoothly.

Overproduction waste: With real-time visibility into production processes, SmartSpace helps manufacturers identify and eliminate overproduction. By matching production levels with actual demand, it reduces the waste of producing more than what is needed, leading to cost savings.

Overprocessing waste: SmartSpace enables manufacturers to track and analyze the production steps and workflows. By identifying unnecessary or redundant steps, it helps eliminate overprocessing, optimize processes, and streamline operations.

Defects waste: SmartSpace provides comprehensive data on quality and performance metrics, allowing manufacturers to quickly detect and address defects. By implementing real-time quality control measures, it helps reduce defects, minimize rework, and eliminate the waste associated with producing faulty products.

Overall, Ubisense’s SmartSpace helps address the 7 wastes of Lean Manufacturing by providing real-time visibility, data analytics, and process optimization capabilities, enabling manufacturers to make informed decisions, reduce waste, and improve overall efficiency and productivity.

If you would like to learn more about what SmartSpace can do for your manufacturing environment, please contact us.