What do the letters in the acronym DOWNTIME refer to in Lean Methodology?

Lean methodology is designed to help companies find and eliminate waste from the facility. To help with that goal there are many different strategies, one of which is known as DOWNTIME.

8 Wastes of Lean

This is actually an acronym that is set up to help people think about the 8 different types of waste that may be present so that they can watch for it. Each letter in the word stands for a different type of waste, as follows:

  • Defects – Defects in a product cause waste because the product either has to be scrapped, or it has to go through additional processing to fix the mistake.
  • Overproduction – Creating more of a product than is needed can be very wasteful. A company that overproduces often has to sell at a discount and store large quantities of parts that are needed for the large production efforts.
  • Waiting – When work has to be stopped due to some issue. This could be a bottleneck, an accident, an injury, or any number of other things.
  • Not Utilizing Talent – If an employee has talents that aren’t being utilized, this is a significant waste. Not only does the company not benefit from these talents, but the person is also more likely to leave the company.
  • Transportation – When an employee has to walk or drive around to get something done. Placing related machines near each other is a good solution to this. Anytime someone has to transport things through the facility an effort should be made to eliminate this requirement.
  • Inventory Excess – When a specific product is made in to large of a quantity. This is often caused by unreliable customers, long set-up requirements, misunderstanding of customer needs, and other issues.
  • Motion Waste – Any motion within a facility that doesn’t not add value to the process should be eliminated. This applies to employees, but also to machines. Even an automated motion should be looked at to see how it can be optimized.
  • Excess Processing – When a product needs too much processing to be completed. If the customer is not willing to pay for the added effort, then it is a type of waste and should be reduced or eliminated.

Making sure everyone in the facility understand what DOWNTIME is will help make it easier to find, and then remove, waste from throughout the company.


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