Project Management

Tim Woods: Unlock Lean Efficiency and Process Optimization

tim woods acronym

Table of Contents

Tim Woods is an acronym used to describe major types of process waste. It’s a fundamental part of the Lean Six Sigma methodology and businesses around the world use Tim Woods as an easy framework to identify, understand and eliminate process waste.  

Tim Woods helps organizations boost efficiency, productivity, and general business excellence! It offers a lot of benefits, yet so many management professionals still don’t understand the Tim Woods acronym.  

In this complete guide, we’re walking you through the acronym, and various Tim Woods waste examples. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to eliminate waste from your processes. 

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The Tim Woods Acronym

The Tim Woods acronym represents eight types of process waste: Transport, Inventory, Movement, Waiting, Overproduction, Over-processing, Defects, and Skills

You may come across “Tim Wood” without the ‘S’. Some believe Skills aren’t a tangible type of process waste. Others choose “Tim Wood” to simplify the acronym and make it easier to remember. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the eight areas that make up the Tim Woods acronym, and explain them in more detail.

tim woods transport waste image

Transport Waste 

The “T” in Tim Woods represents Transport Waste. This is the first category within the 8 wastes of lean and can refer to people, products, or materials. Examples of transport waste include conducting site visits to hold meetings, moving raw materials around a warehouse, and even moving data between systems and spreadsheets. 

It’s a type of waste because the storage of products, and the movement of people or materials can be expensive. It’s important organizations weigh up the costs involved in transportation before going ahead. 

To reduce transport waste, organizations should look to optimize routes and consolidate transportation where possible. It’s also a good idea to collaborate more effectively with suppliers to coordinate transport activities. 

Tools like edison365 help bridge that gap and revolutionize collaboration and communication between suppliers, organizations, and other stakeholders. Want to find out more? Speak to our team

tim woods inventory waste

Inventory Waste 

The “I” in Tim Woods refers to Inventory Waste. Believe it or not, inventory storage can be costly, and it’s the excessive accumulation of data, materials, or components that results in inventory waste. Whether it’s a warehouse full of built machines or serves full of content ready to ship, inventory requires time, cost, and effort. 

So how can you avoid inventory waste? There are a few options to consider. Firstly, businesses should look to implement a Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory system. This will also improve transport waste, as less excessive transportation will result in leaner storage of inventories.  

Demand forecasting can also help organizations manage inventory levels by aligning inventory with the expected demand, instead of ordering excessive inventory in the hope that demand will increase. 

Finally, simple warehouse optimization and better organization can help reduce inventory waste. When storage space is used effectively, it’s easier to rotate inventory and understand the storage of inventory levels. 

Following some of the tips above, organizations can reduce inventory waste and improve the 8 wastes of lean. Now, let’s move on to movement waste.

tim woods movement waste

Movement Waste 

The “M” in the Tim Woods acronym means “Movement Waste” but can also be referred to as “Motion Waste”. So, what is movement waste? Well, this could be physical or digital ergonomics. 

Take your office for example. If you print lots of information and the printer is on the other side of the office, each time you move to and from the printer you’re wasting time, effort, and resources.  

Therefore, it is better to put the print next to your desk! And what about digital work? Many layers of nested folders and subfolders are also a form of movement waste.   

As you dive into a labyrinth of folders and files, it ultimately leads to wasted time. So, how can you reduce this kind of process waste? Well, there are a few ideas to try! Firstly, businesses should consider optimizing their workspaces

This involves designing a space that involves less unnecessary movement, like walking to and from a printer. Anything that requires additional reaching, bending, or walking should be optimized! 

Be sure to try the 5S Practices: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. By following these principles, you can create effective working environments that aren’t cluttered, and help reduce time spent looking for paperwork or tools. 

Standardizing certain work processes can also streamline movement waste. When everyone is aware of a specific work process, you can expect swifter action and results, and less movement waste. 

tim woods waiting waste

Waiting Waste 

The “W” in the Tim Woods acronym stands for “Waiting Waste” and means exactly what it says. “Waiting waste” comes from idle time involving people, materials, information, or equipment. Not only can this form of waste be damaging to workflows, but it has a negative impact on employee morale.  

It’s no secret the most expensive form of waiting waste is people. The more people are left waiting for machines to work, information to be sent, or access to equipment, the more it costs a business to pay them for very little productivity. 

Another example of waiting waste is machinery and equipment that lies dormant due to breakdowns or changeovers. This resource is left inactive and produces waiting waste until it is put into action again.  

As you can tell, the Tim Woods acronym leaves nothing out and takes everything into account in the hope of helping businesses achieve better efficiency! Now, what strategies can be implemented to reduce waiting waste? 

First and foremost, communication and coordination. With employees communicating more effectively, organizations can avoid the pointless waiting around for access to equipment, machines, or information.  

Organizations should look to improve communication channels. Ask yourself, “What new communication channels can we open to pass information around the business quickly?” This question might lead you to invest in instant-messaging tools. 

Another opportunity to reduce waiting waste is automation. With the rise of technology, automation appears in most of our lives these days! It’s a no-brainer that automation can reduce waiting waste. 

For example, repetitive, time-consuming tasks can be automated to minimize the time spent completing them. An example may be reporting. By implementing a reporting tool, project managers can automate the entire results without having to analyze data and spend time uncovering key insights. 

tim woods overproduction waste

Overproduction Waste 

The “O” in the 8 Wastes of Lean refers to “Overproduction”. This occurs when goods are overproduced and don’t match demand levels. This could be too many physical goods or too much digital content.  

For example, producing a supply of 10 cars when the demand is only 8 means there are 2 created that are surplus. This has the potential to impact or stimulate other types of waste too, so overproduction should be observed. 

What’s more, overproduction could lead to production defects and inventory issues. The question is, how do organizations squash this form of waste? Let’s have a look, shall we? 

Production limits can reduce the likelihood of overproduction waste. Establishing these limits using technology and systems can ensure production is steady and accurately meets demand.  

This is especially true for costly production processes. The last thing businesses want is excess products that they may struggle to sell. Another suggestion, and one we’ve mentioned already is better communication with suppliers.  

By communicating effectively with suppliers and manufacturers, businesses can prevent overproduction mistakes and plan and deliver production properly. Businesses should build better relationships and share demand forecasts. 

Continuous improvement is another great strategy to limit overproduction waste. By building a culture of continuous improvement, businesses can rally everyone to get behind overproduction issues and rectify them together. 

tim woods overprocessing waste

Overprocessing Waste 

The “O” in the famous Tim Woods acronym refers to Overprocessing. One of the 8 wastes of lean is also known as “gold-plating”. This can include delivering work according to standards, tolerances, or requirements that are needlessly excessive. 

An example of overprocessing is adding more fields or tables to your idea or project form than you really need or moving your business case through a workflow that has more steps than are required.   

But what else makes the cut for this function of the Tim Woods acronym? Well, excessive quality inspection is indeed a form of overprocessing waste! Redundant quality control inspections do lead to wasted time.  

The same goes for other processing stages, from over-packaging to over-engineering products. Ultimately, it’s about setting a bar and aiming for that. Not processing over and over, better and better, or you never reach your goal.  

To combat this as one of the 8 wastes of lean, companies should simplify where possible; from product designs and engineering to simpler packaging and delivery processes.  

Another consideration to improve this area of the Tim Woods waste methodology is to map out the value stream. This exercise helps to understand the materials and information involved in the production/service delivery process.  

By identifying this information, organizations can reduce overprocessing waste at several stages, creating less waste and more progress and potentially customer satisfaction! A truly win-win situation. 

tim woods defects waste

Defects Waste 

The “D” in Tim Woods stands for “Defects Waste” and describes all the work you must carry out to undo the result of a defect. If you must rework, correct, amend, or modify your work, this is one of the 8 wastes of lean.  

This is especially dangerous for manufacturing, industrial, and logistics sectors where there is a physical element to the work that involves raw materials. It may be easier to handle defects in a digital capacity (for example, re-sending a quote for your goods and services), but this doesn’t mean it’s less impactful for your business. 

 It’s also worth noting that defects in products and services can lead to lower customer satisfaction and retention. If your customers aren’t happy, it isn’t just defects waste you should be concerned about. 

What can you do to reduce defects and waste and improve your business in this area of the Tim Woods acronym? First and foremost, it’s important to implement a Quality Management System (QMS). This system can help deliver on your promise and ensure customer requirements and specifications are met! 

It’s also important to train employees as the key handlers of your products and services. Ensure your team’s expertise is up to scratch and they are more than able to avoid defects waste and other issues related to your business offering. 

As we’ve already discussed in this Tim Woods Acronym article, consider a continuous improvement strategy. A way to regularly action the feedback and ideas on your products and services and keep track of defects waste progress. 

tim woods skills waste

Skills Waste 

The last letter in Tim Woods Waste is “S” standing for “Skills Waste”. This comes from a failure to use the right people for the right jobs. It’s not uncommon to see people adopting multiple roles in the modern workplace, even if in an informal capacity.  

Many do this to help keep projects and processes moving effectively, however, without the correct skills and capability, people can hurt a process. This may result in a less productive process. 

Skills Waste also occurs when talent is underutilized or not capitalized on. People are great at many different things, and if an employee’s full potential is never realized, organizations risk wasting their skills. 

To combat skills waste, companies should conduct performance management and carry out cross-functional collaboration sessions. This gives employees a chance to demonstrate their skills and be recognized for what they can bring to the table. 

Highlighting Career progression is important. Organizations must offer people a voice and a chance to talk about how they want to progress. This enables companies to take note of what people want to achieve and how to maximize their skills. 

Finally, training and development opportunities must be offered. So many organizations fail to upskill their existing employees, which can not only retain employees and boost morale and engagement but also squash skills waste. 

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Tim Woods Waste Conclusion 

The 8 wastes of lean as described in the Tim Woods acronym above demonstrate the sheer volume of ways businesses can improve efficiency. It is a practical system for evaluating so many functions and processes in any business.  

We recommend working through the Tim Woods waste system to identify areas for improvement and present your findings to key stakeholders. From inventory waste to skills waste, leave nothing out and drive progress once and for all! 

Did you know you can use edison365 to clearly understand your end-to-end transformation process, reduce the need to move information between systems, eliminate unnecessary additional steps in the process, and easily call on the right resources at the right time to help you manage your work effectively? 

You can also find out about how to create a digital transformation strategy that reduces waste in my digitization blog.

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