The nine wastes of lean: the path to continuous improvement

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In the dynamic world of manufacturing, where every second counts, the principles of lean manufacturing have stood the test of time. Originating from the Toyota Production System, lean manufacturing is all about trimming the fat and maximizing efficiency in your processes.

Traditionally, there are eight wastes in lean manufacturing. However, in today’s digitized landscape, we at Workerbase have seen a ninth waste emerge: not keeping up with the pace of digitization. Manufacturers that aren’t able to effectively digitize their operations and embrace the digital transformation are already at a clear disadvantage, and with the pace only picking up, those not taking proactive steps are likely to be left behind.

In this article, we’ll quickly review the eight wastes of lean manufacturing, and address the importance of digitization to reduce waste. We’ll look at how connected worker platforms in particular can help manufacturers overhaul their production processes quickly and efficiently by bringing together frontline staff, machines and existing IT systems.

The nine wastes of lean manufacturing

Let’s start by revisiting the original eight wastes of lean.

1 – Waiting: Whenever your production line or workers are idle, it’s wasted time and resources.

2 – Overproduction: Making more than what is needed leads to surplus inventory and increases costs.

3 – Unnecessary transportation: Moving materials or products when it’s not absolutely needed can increase the likelihood of damage and delays.

4 – Extra inventory: Stockpiling items requires more space and ties up capital that could be better used elsewhere.

5 – Unnecessary motion: Excessive movements of frontline staff can lead to fatigue and errors.

6 – Defects: Any flaws or mistakes in the process result in rework and wasted resources.

7 – Underused skills: Failing to harness your team’s full potential leads to wasted talent and innovation.

8 – Overprocessing: Doing more than what’s required adds unnecessary costs and complexity.

9 – Not keeping up with the pace of digitization: In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, not embracing technology and digital tools is a significant waste of potential efficiency. These devices offer real-time data, hands-free access to information, and the ability to connect workers across the factory floor.

How can Connected Worker platforms help cut waste

Connected Worker platform empowers manufacturers to tackle all nine wastes head-on. Here’s how:


Instant notifications and instructions on smart devices keep workers engaged and productive.


Real-time demand data ensures production matches actual needs.

Unnecessary transportation:

Workers receive precise routing information, reducing unnecessary movement.

Extra Inventory:

Accurate inventory tracking and automated reordering prevents overstocking.

Unnecessary motion:

Hands-free access to instructions direct at the workstation using smart devices reduces the need to move back and forth.


Real-time quality checks catch errors before they escalate.

Underused skills:

Best practices sharing among frontline staff maximizes skills and speeds up task resolution


Streamlined processes guided by smart devices eliminate unnecessary steps.

Not keeping up with the pace of digitization::

A futureproof Connected Worker platform establishes a network for your whole production ecosystem that includes frontline operators, machines and your existing IT infrastructure. It enables you to send data (e.g. tasks, instructions) and receive input back (e.g. machine data) seamlessly in one platform that can be scaled to digitize any production process.

Getting started with a Connected Worker solution

Ready to embark on your lean manufacturing journey? It’s easier than you think, and you could be rolling out your first digital production processes with smart devices in a matter of weeks. Here’s what to consider:

1 – Assess your needs: identify the specific wastes you want to target.

2 – Choose the right devices: Select the smart devices that best suit your processes.

3 – Select the right partner: Work with a partner that can support you at every step, giving you the tools to customize the platform to fit your unique requirements (for example through training and low code, module-based app builders)

4 – Train your team: Empower your workforce to embrace the new tools.

5 – Start small, scale up: Begin with a pilot project and expand as you see results.

Why Workerbase for lean manufacturing?

Workerbase connects workers, machines and IT systems to turn data into flexible manufacturing execution. The Connected Worker platform, backed by a powerful process automation engine, offers the key to unlocking your manufacturing potential. Say goodbye to manual processes, communication gaps, and inefficiencies – and hello to streamlined workflows! Ultimately, the key to letting work flow optimally is having the right information, to the right people, at the right time, and in the right place.

Wrapping it all up

Leveraging Connected Worker platforms to digitally manage and optimize lean manufacturing reduces waste and can propel your operations into the digital age, ensuring continuous improvement in 2024 and beyond.

Have we piqued your interest? Contact us now and request a demo!



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