The opposite of value


There are quite a few types of waste in your services and products. They drain enthusiasm away from customers. They also drain energy and work satisfaction away from employees. The wastes are also known as TIMWOODS. Each letter stands for a waste.

TIMWOODS also known as down time

The 8 wastes (TIMWOODS)

Wastes explained


Overproduction is often referred to as the worst of the wastes. Overproduction leads to a lot of the other wastes. It also hides the need for improvement, because there are more than enough products. Overproduction happens when you make or deliver more of a product than needed. Another example is delivering something too quickly, before it is needed or wanted. Overproduction is caused by:

  • large batch sizes
  • long setup or change over times
  • unreliable processes
  • unstable schedules
  • push production/inaccurate planning
  • unbalanced work load across cells


This one is sometimes hard to recognize. It means you add more value to a product than is required by the customer. This happens when you add extra thick layers to a product, extra colors, extra protection etc. You need to be aware of what the customer needs in order to properly recognize overprocessing. Overprocessing is usually caused by the lack of standards or unclear standards. These extra features increase cost and increase the chance for defects.


This one is easier to recognize than overprocessing. It costs people a lot of energy and job satisfaction. Waiting happens when you cannot finish your product or service because you need something you do not yet have. Waiting leads to inventory, skills unused, defects and higher costs. It happens:

  • when the value stream is poorly designed
  • when there are a lot of defects
  • when information or resources are lacking
  • when there is bad planning or decision making and
  • when the workload is not balanced across the value stream.


Inventory usually has a different, kinder name in organizations. It is known as work to be done, the backlog, work in progress etc. It means that no value is added while your product is in inventory. It also implies you need means for managing your inventory. This costs a lot of money. Inventory is usually caused by overproduction. It hides other wastes and insecurities in the value stream. These insecurities can include: erratic delivery, machine downtime, high defect rates, errors in planning or skills unused. Inventory leads to defects, waiting and usually transport. It will also make your information flow in the value stream more complicated.


An easy one to recognize, defects. It means you will need to repair an attribute in order to achieve the right quality. Defects also occur when the standard does not represent the requirements made by the customer. Defects lead to rework, extra costs, skills unused, waiting and a lot of unhappiness all around. Defects have a multitude of causes. Here are a couple of examples:

  • unclear standards
  • inadequate or poor maintenance of equipment
  • each of the wastes mentioned in this blog
  • untrained employees


Motion is any movement of employees or equipment that does not add value. It is usually causes by poor work station lay out, poor instruction, bad equipment or large batch sizes. It leads to lower work efficiency and, in most people, to lower job satisfaction. In equipment is leads to extra pressure or usage and therefore to extra maintenance.


This is about physical transportation of a product. Even when the product is transported to a place where value is added, transportation should be diminished as much as possible. Transportation is usually caused by poor lay out of the value stream, large batch sizes or overproduction. Transportation leads to higher costs, waiting, defects, inventory and adds no value to the product.

Skills unused

Your most valuable resources are your employees. When you make them work with inadequate policies, standards or equipment you are wasting their talents. It will lead to each of the wastes mentioned above. When talents or skills remain unused it will also lead to lack of improvement in the value stream. Employees will only work on improvement when they feel empowered to do so.

Time to practice

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