The biggest waste: missed opportunities

waste missed opportunities

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, observe (read our post) 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:

  • Using of process simulation to optimize and reduce the costs of industrial processes
  • Using additive manufacturing to produce extremely complex components
  • Improving the traceability of semi-finished products (with all associated benefits) by means of real-time geolocation systems (RTLS)
  • Using of virtual reality to reduce the learning curve of operators when introducing new products or during plant maintenance
  • Improving decision-making skills during product development, or improving remote assistance using augmented reality
  • Knowing how to fully exploit the talent and skills of employees through structured processes of continuous learning and management of innovative processes


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.


In this sense, Accialini Training & Consulting can help you to not letting you miss opportunities. In fact, we are able to:

  • Provide you with training in different formats (face to face, or online in synchronous and asynchronous format with our SkillS4i platform) to increase the technological skills of your employees
  • Provide you with technology management support, helping you identify and implement the best solution after a technology scouting process
  • Help you to create a corporate leadership able to better manage the processes of innovation and personal growth

For more information, contact us to discuss your needs together in detail.

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Nicola was super engaging, very clear, always open to debate and willing to accept different points of view. Very helpful even outside the course hours for doubts. Positive experience. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Katia Gaspari
CAD DesignerCAD Designer, SDM tooling S.r.l.

Extremely interesting course performed by a competent and professional speaker ready for any answer for doubts and perplexities

Alberto Dalmasso
CAD DesignerCAD Designer, SDM tooling S.r.l.

Nicola is a very experienced manufacturing engineer, especially on gears. He adopted ideas from the big, trending themes like Industry 4.0, big data and automation and turned them into pragmatic solutions.

Tim Sowa
Capability Acquisition LeaderCapability Acquisition Leader, Aerospace Transmission Technologies

Profound knowledge of mechanical manufacturing for the manufacture of gears and strong skills in the organization of work and in the continuous improvement of processes.

Ezio Dadone
Gears & Special processes Business LeaderGears & Special processes Business Leader, Avio Aero - a GE Aviation Business

Nicola has an excellent background in gear manufacturing and manufacturing engineering based on hands on manufacturing engineering experience as well as management of R&T projects

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FellowFellow, Rolls-Royce Deutschland