Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > On the meaning of ‘waste’

Electronic data

  • Thurer-Tomasevic-Stevenson_PPC_2016

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Production Planning and Control on 28/11/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09537287.2016.1264640

    Accepted author manuscript, 785 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Links

Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

On the meaning of ‘waste’: review and definition

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
Close
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Production Planning and Control
Issue number3
Volume28
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)244-255
Publication statusPublished
Early online date28/11/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Waste reduction is one of the main principles of lean, but it has been taken for granted that we have a common understanding of what waste means. We first present a critical, qualitative discussion that identifies four distinct waste concepts. We then conduct a systematic review of the literature that examines the different uses of these concepts. We find that only the classic concept of the seven wastes and the concept of waste as non-value-adding activity are widely applied. However, both concepts are, at times, not only incompatible but used in a way that leads to open contradiction. A new definition, centred on an efficient, timely transformation process seeks to consolidate the literature. We outline two distinct waste types: (i) obvious waste, to refer to any waste that can be reduced without creating another form of waste; and, (ii) buffer waste, to refer to any waste that cannot be reduced without creating another waste. The paper has important implications for practice. To reduce waste, managers must undertake three interlinked tasks: the elimination of obvious waste; the reduction of variability to transform buffers into obvious waste; and, the balancing of remaining buffers to best achieve performance targets. The paper supports managers in their endeavours to identify waste, which is an important precursor to waste reduction/elimination.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Production Planning and Control on 28/11/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09537287.2016.1264640