Who is TIM WOODS and why is he killing your business?

Eight Wastes: Time Inventory Motion Waiting Overproduction Overprocessing Defects Skills

TIM WOODS is a waste of time, resource and energy. Every company, department and role feels his impact.

Often employees go about their daily tasks, doing things the way in which they “have always been done” and not questioning whether there is a better, more efficient way to achieve end goals. TIM WOODS is a prompt to help clarify the areas of waste affecting a company’s competitiveness; the eight value-depleting activities which take place during the production of a product or the delivery of a service.

  1. Time
  2. Inventory
  3. Motion
  4. Waiting
  5. Overproduction
  6. Overprocessing
  7. Defects
  8. Skills

These wasteful activities are not exclusive to one environment. Non-value adding practices are prevalent in every industry – from administration to manual labour, finance to retail management, operations to call centre support, engineering to food packaging, and so on.

If not addressed, these activities can impede a business, creating more steps in a process and decreasing the level of productivity which would be achievable without them.

First identify the waste. Then, eliminate it.

Step 1: Identify the waste

A company’s Value Stream is defined as all the tasks completed to produce a product or to provide a service.

Now that you have a clear idea of the types of waste which can affect your business, take a few minutes to apply these to your own role or workplace – to the value stream. How many wasteful steps can you identify?

Once the essential elements of the value stream are defined, they must be placed into two categories: those which add value and those which do not add value.

In Lean, we use Value Stream Mapping (VSM) to identify and illustrate sources of waste throughout the process and to drive action plans to eliminate these wastes. In production environments, the VSM shows both process and information flows, tracking materials as they progress from the raw material supplier to the end customer. In the service industry, VSMs looks at the various lead times and processing times, cycles and reporting structures which flow through the business.

There are variations of VSMs:

  • The Current State – where you are now.
  • The Ideal State – where you want to be.
  • The Future State – the interim steps towards the Ideal State.

Step 2: Eliminate the Waste

With the various VSMs determined, the activities which do not add value can now be targeted for streamlining, or for elimination.


  • A lot of activity completed by an organisation is wasteful.
  • The more layers of waste you remove, the more waste you can see.
  • This is not a step-change, but rather a path which advances via a model of continuous improvement.

Improving processes and applying lean tools to increase productivity, is a never-ending journey.

Developing action plans to support the Future State is an action which acts as a springboard for continuous improvement. If improvements are successfully completed, a new Current State will be established. Once the changes are embedded and standardised, the process is open for re-examination, for further continuous improvement.

Want to know more?

LBS Partners offer a free Introduction to Lean e-book, available to download from their website hereCheck out Chapter 2. 


Vincent is Business Development Manager with LBS Partners with responsibility for growing business and engagements with Micro, SME and FDI clients. Vincent has in-depth experience in the Financial Services industry and was previously Regional Manager with Cantor Fitzgerald. LBS Partners is a provider to ManagementWorks on our Lean Business programme.