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Kaizen for Outwitting the Seven Wastes, Toyota Style (Infographic)

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Uncover fruitless toil, then creatively design it out. That's how a tiny Japanese weaving company grew to become the most successful auto-maker the world has ever seen.

The big surprise for me of recent years is that the Toyota Production System, known in the west as Lean, is pretty much identical to Bill Mollison's Permaculture Design principles. Maximum productivity and maximum flexibility are usually opposing goals in the world of business. Nature knows how to do it, and the clever Japanese, always looking to nature, worked it out too.

Toyota's chief engineer the legendary Taiichi Ono identified these seven ways we work needlessly, squandering our time and resources. Now you may be wondering, if his Seven Wastes are so great, why haven't you heard of them before? I'm going to blame the traditional translation, with its factory-language. Working out the seven wastes that lurk in your life is thrilling, and should be the hobby and mission of every kindergarten, sustainability project, camping trip, and the morning routine of families all over.

So I've re-translated them. I couldn't resist. I've even made you an infographic, with possums. Feel free to download it, play with it, and share it with your mates. I'd love you to. Focus on one waste per day, anywhere you produce things: your workshop, your office, even your kitchen. Miracles will follow. Or maybe they won't.

Try it out, suggest any adjustments, and let me know if it gives you a whole new life. Its my present to you. Enjoy!

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