Types of manufacturing waste & ways to reduce it

What is Manufacturing Waste ?

Manufacturing waste not only refers to the material scrap after the production process, but also the unnecessary expense and the use of time that does not result in a quality product to the customer. Every business owner faces a significant loss of money if this manufacturing waste is not checked properly. Waste occur when there is usage of resources made undergoing an operation but not producing the desired result. Here the resource and machine time, both are considered as waste, moreover an unnecessary waste compared to those scrap materials that could be reused later.

Manufacturing waste

Types of Manufacturing waste and methods to reduce :

There are different types of waste in manufacturing processes, it is important to have a better understanding about each of them and take appropriate measures to reduce them.

  • Waste of Inventory
  • Waste of transportation
  • Waste of motion
  • Waste of waiting 
  • Waste of overproduction
  • Waste of over processing
  • Waste of defects

1. Waste of Inventory :

Excessive inventory is nothing but the money sitting in the form of other assets. Companies always tend to make this mistake by ordering excess inventory or producing in extra numbers to compensate for unexpected demands in future. It might be or not useful later but at the present those materials are a waste of cash investing on something you are not sure about. This is considered as inventory waste.

How to reduce it?

To prevent someone from ordering extra numbers is to have an accurate prediction of sales forecasting and the knowledge on how the product sells in the market at different times. Hence you need not worry about the unexpected orders and pre ordering huge quantities. This can be achieved by using an efficient inventory management software that could give you exact predictions based on historical data. Thus by saving the money from other expenses it is possible to make those investments for other appropriate reasons to enhance production in the unit.

2.Waste of transportation :

Transportation waste occurs when there are unwanted movements of the goods and materials that would damage them. The transportation waste not only occurs outside the company but inside the warehouse as well. The movement of materials for a long distance inside the shop floor for unwanted purposes is also considered as transport waste as this would affect its quality.

How to reduce it?

By using ERP software the delivery of product goods can be well arranged and make effective use of the vehicles. The store management should be most appropriate in placing the frequently used materials with easy access and more purchased items close to each other. 

3.Waste of motion :

Waste of motion is nothing but all the unnecessary movements irrespective of people, machines or tools that do not yield results. Not prioritizing small things about our day to day activities, on a whole will consume a lot of time and energy. For example, a particular tool is used by a team on a daily basis for their operation, but the tool has a place somewhere at a long distance that an employee needs to get it by walking through all the floors. This can be avoided if given care to every single activity inside the shop floor.

How to reduce it?

The company should come up with an organizing plan for each activity that is carried on the shop floor. Create awareness to the employees and make them follow it consistently. Also the shop floor must be rearranged on a priority basis to ease the access for frequently used materials.

4.Waste of waiting :

This is a very common problem prevailing in every company. The examples for waste of waiting can be listed as, the goods waiting for the delivery, the machines waiting for the rectification, a request waiting for the approval, the employees waiting for further instructions. All these issues arise due to poor management and a lack of streamlined processes.

How to reduce it?

ERP software has modules for each department separately thus establishing a transparent communication to easily track where there is a lag. The business operations are more streamlined and create a standard workflow for avoid confusions and waiting time. The software also prompts for regular maintenance of machines and other safety measures to be taken care of.

5.Waste of overproduction :

Majority of waste is generated as a result of overproduction in the manufacturing industry. When the company is not sure about the sales forecasting and produces a large quantity instead then the money is wasted here. At times when there is an update about a product design and still you have the old products unsold in inventory then this is a greater loss for the company.

How to reduce it?

Overproduction not only causes material waste but also the time taken to produce it, the resources allocated to it and the labor time of those who worked for it. But in the end it is considered a waste if the products are sitting idle at the store. Thus a proper demand forecasting is necessary and a minimum stock level should be analyzed. This can be achieved using ERP Software.

6.Waste of over processing :

Over processing is the result of over doing a particular task with so many steps involved where some are not at all necessary. This adds no value to the product or the customers’ view on the product. Thus the time consumed for doing those extra tasks are wasted as well. 

How to reduce it?

This can be avoided by creating a standard work structure eliminating the unnecessary tasks, thus establishing a clear understanding about the product with the laborers. Also make sure to review each process regularly for their product design and operations. 

7.Waste of defects :

This is the costliest of all other waste as the defect arises at the end product or the raw materials being brought. The defects are caused by many reasons like, poor maintenance of machines, lack of knowledge in the assembly line or purchasing a poor quality raw materials. 

How to reduce it?

First of all, find the root cause for the defects. Implement standard operating procedures and provide proper training on the importance of quality products to the employees. Schedule regular maintenance for machines and tools for defect free. Check the quality of raw materials that come inside. Establish strong standards on mandatory quality checks for each and every single task.


For all the defects and issues stated above, a one stop solution will be adapting to an ERP software system. Choosing the right suitable software to meet out your requirements is challenging but ERP vendors and consultants can help you make the wise decision. 

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