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MUDA: missed opportunities
Innovation Strategy Technology

MUDA: missed opportunities are the biggest waste


In the Lean vision, a waste (MUDA) is an activity that does not add any value to the product or service.

Traditionally, 7 types of MUDA can be identified. Using the English terminology, we can memorize them thanks to the acronym TIMWOOD. In this post we will briefly describe the 7 wastes (or rather 8, as we will see).

However, each MUDA represents a missed opportunity.

But there is more: the rapid changes taking place in modern society and especially in the way of doing business are making people aware how to let slip the opportunities that are around us every day is actually the most important waste.

Too often the frenzy of work and the increasing pressure do not allow us to stop and reflect and find solutions with a high value multiplier that would allow us to be more competitive with less effort.

In this sense, missing technological and business opportunities is a waste to be avoided.




The TIM WOOD(S) acronym lists the 7 (8) main wastes according to the principles of Lean Manufacturing:

  • Transportation – are the recurring costs related to the excessive transport of material / semi-finished products with related associated equipment (non-recurring costs), such as lifting equipment, trolleys, cranes, etc.
  • Inventory – costs associated with excessive storage of material, from space to raw material costs
  • Motion – similar to transport, it represents the costs associated with the unsolicited handling of the material, for example during an assembly operation due to a non-optimal workplace organization
  • Waiting – are the costs associated with waiting times for example of a semi-finished product waiting to be processed
  • Overprocessing – are the costs associated with unsolicited processing, i.e. that does not add value to the product or that can be eliminated through optimization activities
  • Overproduction – are all those costs associated with a PUSH rather than PULL production system, with greater WIP, therefore material in work, space, storage, which in reality is not required by the customer
  • Defects – non-quality costs, in particular related to management and rework
  • Skills (lack of) the eighth waste refers to the costs associated with the lack of skills to perform a job correctly

Then there is another acronym to substantially indicate the same waste, or DOWNTIME:

  • Defects
  • Overproduction
  • Waiting
  • Non-utilized Talent
  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Extra-processing (equivalent to overprocessing)

The two acronyms differ mainly due to the eighth waste added only later, namely “Skills” and “Non-utilized talent”, which, although they have a different nuance, in both cases underline the importance of human competence to reduce waste. In this sense, unused talent can be seen as a missed opportunity.


Missed opportunities


Not just unused talent.

All the types of MUDA that we have briefly described so far represent missed opportunities.

However, while in the pre-globalization era seizing opportunities was a way to increase profit margins, today knowing how to identify the solution that the market makes available to us becomes a question more than profitability, survival.

Furthermore, if before the solutions / opportunities on the market were not so easy to find and economically accessible, today the low entry barriers of digitization and the low costs to communicate, both virtually and physically, require us to constantly stay with the antennas. aim to find the most suitable solution for our needs.

The best example in this sense is represented by the evolution of technological systems in all fields.

In manufacturing, for example, the trend of Industry 4.0 has not yet been fully understood by companies (especially SMEs), also because it becomes difficult to keep up with the speed with which these technologies evolve.

Therefore, it is very complicated to understand its strengths and weaknesses, also because this often requires multidisciplinary skills.

Some examples in the technological field are represented by:


How can you not let opportunities slip away?


To date, the opportunities that the market makes available to us to be increasingly competitive through the reduction of production costs, product development times and the improvement of production quality are truly numerous.

However, the frenzy of everyday life often makes us shortsighted and unable to grasp these opportunities, consequently introducing considerable waste.

For this reason, SkillS4i provides you with a series of elearning solutions. Have a look at our catalogue to find lots of ideas which might help to not let opportunities slip away!


Stay tuned

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Nicola Accialini

Hi there! I am Nicola, founder and admin of SkillS4i. Aerospace Engineer, technology enthusiast and industrial expert. I live in Spain and I like travelling, cycling, hiking and reading.

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