Process Analysis & 8 Wastes
The best way to think about waste (or “Muda”, to give it its Japanese name) is as follows: Anything that does not add value to a process and that a customer would not want to pay for.
It can be often not clear where the waste is in a process so by far the best way is to physically walk the process and try and observe the waste first hand. This could be in a warehouse or office environment, by taking time to stand in a fixed location and just observe what you can see happening (or not happening in some cases). This is often more effectively performed following the implementation of 6S workplace management [hyperlink] which first makes the waste in a process much more visible.
A handy way of remembering the types of waste in a process is to think of the name TIM WOODS. Each type of waste, of which there are 8, is summarised in the below visualization: