Muda is a Japanese term, which translates to mean futility, uselessness and wastefulness. It is also one of the three evils of manufacturing systems, the other two being mura – unevenness, and muri, which means overburden.
The Muda concept generally refers to the loopholes within waste management, and how you can reduce or eliminate entirely, by simply identifying the value of materials, and if they are worth their costs.
The principle mainly adapts the idea of allocating materials into two categories: value-adding and waste. In other words, it distinguishes between what is avoidable and unavoidable waste. Value-adding, also called Muda type 1, refers to anything the consumer pays for and that is necessary and useful to them, while actual waste, Muda type 2, is of no value to the consumer at all.
The Muda concept contains seven types of waste:
- Transport: Transportation waste that can be reduced to save time and money.
- Movement: Unnecessary movements that can increase costs. This includes workers as well as machines that require energy to perform processing.
- Waiting: Lots of time and money can be wasted while waiting. If you’re paying workers, yet they have to wait for other procedures to be done, money can be significantly wasted. This also refers to machine-waiting.
- Over-processing: Processing materials more than is actually required, which results in more time and money to produce the product. This also refers to components that are more costly and higher-quality than required.
- Over-production: This deals with production exceeding need. Over-production takes up more time and other resources that aren’t necessary.
- Inventory: Any material that could be of use but is merely left to sit around is a form of waste, as you’ve already paid for it.
- Defects: Any product that has a defect, and needs work or can be chucked away. However, re-working requires more effort, which, again, will need more time and money.