How to Identify Lean Waste With Process Mapping Software 

One of the most sought-after results when process mapping is cost optimisation.

And the way to arrive at lower costs is by identifying lead waste that is unnecessary for your business to run properly.

In this article, we’ll:

  • Go over what lean waste is
  • Learn why it is important to identify lean waste 
  • Show you how Skore will help you identify it in your business processes, so you can optimise costs and improve your processes

Let’s get started!

What Is Lean Waste 

Let’s start with the basics: what do we mean when we say “lean waste”?

Based on the lean manufacturing management philosophy, lean waste refers to any in your business process action that does not provide value to the customer. Put another way, it is any action in your process that is not paid for by your customer, so there is no value to it.

It comes from the Toyota Production System (TPS) devised by Toyota’s Chief of Engineering, Dr. Taiichi Ohno. The focus was on eliminating waste within their manufacturing system, though it can be applied to other industries as well. 

There are seven different kinds of waste under this ideology, though an eighth waste was included in the 1990s after this ideology was adopted in the West. They are:

  • Transport – This covers the movement of people, tools, inventory, equipment, or products farther than necessary. Excessive movement can lead to damage or defects, unnecessary work, greater wear and tear, and exhaustion. For example, sourcing materials needed for production should be near the location of the factory where they are utilized. Adding travel time will only slow down the entire process.
  • Inventory – Specifically, excess inventory. Having too many certain products that are not being sold can lead to defects, damaged materials, longer production processes, inefficient allocation of capital, and problems being hidden away in inventory. It makes it difficult to detect problems in production, as defects can accumulate before they are noticed. This leads to greater problems down the line as products have to be re-made to correct these defects, while the original ones sit as excess inventory taking up space. Examples of excess inventory can be anything from unused records to additional products, to older machines that are no longer used but are taking up space. 
  • Motion – Similar to transport, motion is any unnecessary movement of people, equipment, or machinery. But in this case, it is any walking, lifting, bending, reaching, stretching, or moving that is required but does not serve the customer. Tasks that require too much motion need to be re-designed, not only for efficiency but also to increase health and safety levels in the work environment.
  • Waiting – As the title implies, waiting is any moment in a business manufacturing process in which someone is waiting for another action to be completed. The mishandling of this dead space can have catastrophic results if it is not managed correctly, so shortening wait times are always of the utmost importance. Examples include customers waiting to receive their product, waiting to receive email responses, and waiting on materials to arrive at a factory.
  • Overproduction – A cause of excess inventory, overproduction is when a particular product is manufactured before it is asked for or required. It is better to aim for “just in time” as opposed to “just in case” when it comes to manufacturing. After all, overproduction leads to excess inventory, higher storage costs, hidden defects and higher costs overall as new products have to be made regardless. Some examples of overproduction include making extra copies, excessive reports that go unread, making more products than customers demand, or in higher batches. 
  • Over-processing – More work, components, or steps than needed to complete the product or service required by a customer. Essentially, what are the actions in your process that do not have a clear connection to the money the customer spent on your product or service? A few examples of over-processing are utilizing higher quality equipment than necessary, running more analysis than needed, preparing more detailed reports than needed, and unnecessary steps in purchasing such as too many signatures on a document.
  • Defects – Whenever your product or service is not fit for use. This means reworking or scrapping it, which are not real solutions. After all, both add additional costs to your operation without delivering any value to the customer. There is no clear line between their purchase and the costs you take on in this case. An example is a product that is missing a part or that is the wrong colour.
  • Skills – The new, eighth waste added to the philosophy is under-utilized skills and talent. It can also be thought of as the waste of human potential. It happens when organisations separate management from employees too strongly. Not involving employees in the organisation and management of the activities they perform daily is a mistake, and results in a lack of knowledge and expertise from the frontline needed to improve processes. The way this plays out is usually a lack of training, poor incentives, not asking for feedback, or providing employees with the wrong tools for the job.

Why It Is Important For My Company to Identify Lean Waste 

Now that we know what lean wastes refer to, it is possible to infer why being able to identify lean waste in your business processes is important. In a nutshell:

If you do not identify lean waste, your costs add up without evening out by payment from your customers. 

By spotting the places in your business process where you can reduce spending and save instead, you save money while running your business more efficiently. And this will please your customers a lot more as well.

During times of economic uncertainty, it is of the utmost importance for organisations to be able to identify their lean waste. It is only by doing so and improving their processes accordingly that they will be able to save money and optimise without compromising the quality of their offer.

Attempting to identify lean waste without process mapping will only lead to rash decision-making that will have a negative impact at some point. 

But how does a process map help you identify lean waste?

Get Started Today

How Skore as a Process Mapping Software Identifies Lean Waste 

The first thing to do is invest in good process mapping software. While there are alternatives available, Skore should be your first choice.

Our tool is intended specifically for process mapping, and it can be easily used interactively during a workshop or for mapping independently in an asynchronous schedule.

Our use of Universal Process Notation (UPN) also makes it easy for everyone to follow along, from stakeholders to employees. This means frontline workers can easily provide key insights into what they do every day and how they solve problems they come across at the moment. 

Based on this, owners can work on specific processes and steps that correspond to those problems, removing complications such as excessive forms or waiting periods for certain materials. This helps reduce the costs of activities. 

The tool itself also suggests spots for improvement. By following these suggestions and changing processes, businesses will soon find themselves spending less and making more.

For a close-up look at how Skore works specifically to identify lean waste, you can take a look here at our lean webinar event.

Need some more convincing?

We’ve helped companies reduce activity times by an entire week, as well as shave 80 days worth of waste from their processes!

You can read even more success stories from happy customers to help convince you of the impact Skore can have on your business as soon as you begin using it.

At the end of the day, our focus is on helping all of our clients obtain clarity and direction of where their business currently is. How it works and why it works the way it does, and where it can be improved upon to spend less and make more. 

And we want to help you do the same.


Tools such as Skore exist for the sole purpose of helping businesses improve their processes and reduce lean waste in the twenty-first century.

It is no longer necessary to depend on pencil and paper to map your processes. With Skore, you can understand your business and how it is run, and communicate it to others in a quick, clean, and detailed visualization.

The eighth wastes of lean won’t know what hit them when you optimise and improve your processes.

Get Started Today