One of the main areas of focus of Lean working seems to be waste removal. However, the original goal of Lean working as we know it now is to add value for the customer and to create flow (the Just-in-time principle).
Working on reducing waste (muda), but don’t do anything about unevenness (muri) and overburden (mura) doesn’t stop the wastes to return. Basically, you’re just firefighting. It is not a matter of ‘pick the things you like and call it Lean’.
An other symptom of focusing on waste is to add even more to the original seven wastes. I do not think that it is necessary, for the philosophy itself provides sufficient information on this. The eighth waste is described by Womack & Jones: underutilizing people. Not to make use of the skills and knowledge of your employees. Recently, I read about a ninth ‘waste’: environmental waste.
As I do understand the need to define terms, I wonder what the added value is. After all, the eighth waste is more or less described in the Toyota Principles 9-11, but from a leadership’s point of view. However, this is already a more than accepted defined waste so I have nothing much to say about it at this moment.
On the other hand, I wonder why a ninth waste occurred. On one hand, I think it is good to define new things, on the other hand, I think that mentioning it quickly will become an overkill and that it is ‘invented’ to keep some people happy. But if one relentlessly pursues the elimination of the seven initial wastes, there will be as less as environmental waste as possible.
Keep it simple
For me, it is important that Lean is simple, even if it’s not easy. There is no need to deliberately make it (over)complicated. The more complicated it is, the harder a Lean transition will become. Since Lean transitions are already quite hard to sustain, I do not think that defining more ‘wastes’ will help.
So unless there is a truly new insight, don’t create and endless list of more of the same, only described differently.