The waste of motion is the unnecessary movement of people or machines that do not add value. There is a difference between value added steps versus non-value added steps. For example, in a warehouse, if a picker gets a list of items to pick but doesn’t have the locations of the items they will wander around the warehouse until they find the items. This is an example of non-value activities. If the route is optimized, the picker will pick the items using the shortest possible route. Thus, eliminating waste! Excessive travel between workstations, excessive movements from point A to B are all examples of motion waste.


  • Searching for equipment or tools
  • Additional steps in a process
  • Additional steps in a process
  • Reaching or walking excessive distances

Causes of Motion Waste

The main causes are waste are poor layouts, tools that are not organized, and worker processes. If you have to constantly go out of your way or strain yourself to find a tool or item, or it takes longer than it should to move from step one to two you are hitting the waste of motion.

How to reduce Motion Waste

Motion may never be eliminated from a process but it should be minimized as much as possible. This will improve your efficiency and reduce strain on the workers. There are two tools that should be used to reduce motion waste. The first way is to use 5S to cleanup each individual work area. This will remove clutter and organize the workspace. The second way is to conduct time studies to see what activities are taking the longest to complete. From this information, you can work to make the process more efficient.