Key Terms

The Seven Wastes



  • Overproduction: This is the most egregious of all the waster since it not only is a waste itself but aggravated the other six wastes.
  • Waiting: simply workers are not working for whatever reason
  • Transportation: moving parts around between processes
  • Overprocessing: processing a product beyond what the customer wants
  • Movement: unnecessary movement of people, walking around, looking for tools or materials
  • Inventory: Raw materials, WIP, or Finished Goods are wastes if it does not directly protect sales
  • Making defective parts: “scrap” people spend valuable time, effort, and energy to make the unit – all of which was lost, not just the production unit


Value Stream

Wherever there is a product for a customer,

there is a value stream.

The challenge lies in seeing it.

“Value – Stream Mapping” Is known as “Material and Information Flow Mapping” A training method or as a means to “Learn to See”

What is Value-Stream Mapping

A value stream is all the actions (both value added and non-value added) currently required to bring a product through the man flows essential to every product:

  1. The production flow from raw material into the arms of the customer
  2. The design flow from concept to product launch

Taking a  value stream perspective means working on the big picture, not just individual processes, and improving the whole, not just optimizing the parts.

Value-stream mapping is a pencil and paper tool that helps you to see and understand the flow of material and information as a product makes its way through the value stream.

Value-steam mapping is simple: Follow a product’s production path from customer to supplier, and carefully draw a visual representation of every process in the material and information flow.  Then ask a set of keyquestions and draw a “future-state” map of how value should flow.  Doing this over and over is the simplest and best way to teach yourself and your colleagues how to see value and, especially, the sources of waste.

Product Family

A family is a group of products that pass through similar processing steps and over common equipment in you downstream processes.

Value-Stream Manager

Because companies tend to be organized by departments and functions, instead of by flow of value-creating steps for product families, you often find that- surprise – no one is responsible for the value-stream perspective.

To get away from isolated islands of functionality you need one person with lead responsible for understand a product family’s value stream and improving it.  We call this person a Value-Stream Manager.



Producing and pushing product forward forward according to schedules it receives from Production Control instead of actual need of the downstream “customer”.