Waiting waste is when a worker is idle or working slowly to prevent while waiting for the previous process to be completed.


  • Operators that are idle because the machine broke down
  • Operators waiting for a delivery of materials from the previous process
  • Operators depleting the batch of units slower than normal to not run out until the next batch is delivered

Costs of Waiting Waste

An employee is being compensated whether they are working or not. Each minute an employee is waiting is an additional cost that you will not be able to get back. If you fall behind or have a rush order that needs to be shipped out, you will have additional costs in the overtime you have to pay the employees to complete the tasks. Waiting waste during normal operating hours can lead to overtime pay for employees.

Causes of Waiting Waste

Waiting waste is caused by previous processes taking longer to complete the activity than the next process. For example, it takes Process A 15 minutes to process 50 units. It takes Process B 5 minutes to process 50 units. If Process B doesn’t have at least 150 units available to process there could be up to 10 minutes of waiting waste. Processes that breakdown can cause waiting waste because it stops all processes downstream from completing their tasks.

How to reduce Waiting Waste

To reduce waiting waste, you need to improve your machine’s reliability to reduce the amount of downtime it has. You can also balance out your processes to ensure a continuous flow from one process to another to reduce the amount of time waiting for the previous process to finish.