Value Adding (VA), Non-Value-Adding (NVA) & Waste

These are defined in detail elsewhere in this site. Click Here to Read

How to identify Waste?

With respect to lean Waste is usually considered of 7 types. It very often is also equated to MUDA (a word in Japanese supposed to have the meaning as Waste).

In our terminology we would like to state it with little difference.

With respect to Lean and waste associated with any business must consider the following

1. It would include all the three Japanese terms:

    • MUDA
    • MURA
    • MURI

These are explained below.


The biggest of all the wastes that Lean Practitioners will ever require to work on. Typically explained to be seven (7) types of waste or uselessness, viz.,

Overproduction – producing more than, faster than, or sooner than is required,

Waiting – idle time that could be used productively,

Transporting – Unnecessary transport of parts or material,

Inappropriate Processing – Operations that add No-Value from customer’s perspective,

Unnecessary in-process Inventory (WIP) Exceeding One-Piece-Flow,

Unnecessary/Excess Motion – Any movement by people or equipment that does not add Value.

Defects – Rework, Repair or Waste in its simplest form

What should Flow:

Material in a Factory.

Documents in an Office.

Guest in a Hotel.

Clues to Identify MUDA:

Is it Stopping?... .... .... ... ... ... ...MUDA!

Is it Retracing?.. .... .... ... ... ... ...MUDA!

Is it Piling up?.. ... ... ... ... ... ... ...MUDA!

Is it Reprocessed?.. .. ... .... ... ...MUDA!


It is a Japanese term to express variability (typically in any process with respect to Lean). Any type of Unevenness, inconsistency, or abundance of variation. Very often its MURA in any process which is responsible for creating MUDA. To tackle MUDA

Look for:

What is different?

When it is different?

Extent of difference?

Kaizen the Situation:

Work to improve the situation. Even a copy of improvement from any resource is better than the original situation (Status-quo)!


This Japanese term stands strain – overburden, Unreasonableness. English equivalent term to handle MURI is Ergonomics.

2. The waste is slightly different then Non-Value-Adding (NVA) Activity in terms of the fact that "waste is usually created when a Value-Adding (VA) activity is being performed unmindfully. A Non-Value-Adding Activity by itself may be an Essential or Not Essential but it does not contribute in generation of the waste as per commonly known definition of MUDA or Waste. Take an example of Waste under the category of "Overproduction". Entire Over production is created on account of carrying out Value-Adding activity of production.

3. At the end it may be pertinent to attack anything which does not fall under the category of Value-Adding. Inspection and Testing are often debated as VA or NVA. To take a critical view of our own inefficiencies it may be always advisable to treat these activities as NVA and thereafter challenge the organizational teams to work towards eliminating and/or reducing the same. Such an attitude is essential to learn from Toyota and imitate.

Please CONTACT US or e-mail to us for any requirement for training or Implementation of '5S'; Kaizen; TEI; Lean; Lean Supply Chain etc.