What is Motion Waste According to Lean Manufacturing?

how to reduce motion waste


In this article, you will learn what is motion waste and the most relevant impacts to the lean manufacturing activities.  Also, discover how to reduce the motion waste in 8 steps.

Motion Waste Definition

Motion is defined as a waste when a product or component is moved and transported more than necessary when doing work or delivery.

It includes any unnecessary movement of

  • people,
  • equipment, or
  • machinery,
  • walking,
  • lifting,
  • reaching,
  • bending,
  • stretching,
  • moving, etc

The combination of two (2) factors are involved in the movement of an object from point A to point B:

  1. Distance. The shortest distance route is one of the key factors. (in a straight line as possible). But, sometimes the path with a short distance is not the fastest way, since speed is also a key factor.
  2. Speed. The path with the shortest period of time is the second key factor. The path with the fastest speed of movement is better since provides the shortest time to displacement.

In summary, it is recommended to select the path which considers a combination of both factors: shortest distance and highest speed.

In fact, motion is one of the eight (8) wastes of lean manufacturing.

Motion is considered the third waste in lean manufacturing because is a non-value activity for the end-user(s).

The eight wastes of lean manufacturing are:

  1. Transport
  2. Inventory
  3. Motion
  4. Waiting
  5. Overproduction
  6. Over-processing
  7. Defects
  8. Skills – The 8th Waste

The main causes of the waste of motion are with regards to:

  • cell layout,
  • placing the product at floor level on pallets,
  • poorly arranged space,
  • tools that are disorganized,
  • lack of space
  • organization for component parts, and so on.

How to Reduce the Motion Waste in 8 Steps?

  1. The simplest and most powerful lean manufacturing tool at your disposal to eliminate the waste of motion within the work cells is that of 5S.
  2. Identify the root causes of motion waste.
  3. Working instructions that involve excessive motion must be improved to reduce the motion times and distances.
  4. Organize the working area, placing components and equipment near the production location, and putting materials in an ergonomic position to reduce stretching and straining.
  5. Design and create new work tools.
  6. Refining the layout, workflow, and processes.
  7. Creating Standard Operating procedures.
  8. Implementing Single-Minute Exchange of Die.

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REFERENCES: What is Motion Waste.





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Ramon Cayuela, MS, BS, Chemical Engineering

CIQA President and CEO.
I've been working in validation engineering since 1992 with many multinational pharmaceutical companies. I love sharing my passion and knowledge with others. If you have any questions about anything (or just have general questions). I will be more than happy to assist you. You can count on the BEST customer service on CIQA. I go to great lengths to make sure my clients are 100% satisfied with their purchases and check emails/messages consistently throughout the day. You can rest assured that everything being sold here is as-described or your money back. I look forward to working with you!