The Two Great Wastes in Organizations

Hal Macomber1 & Gregory Howell2

1Principal, Lean Project Consulting, 36 Kirkland Drive, Andover, MA 01810. 978/470-8994.
2Managing Director. Lean Construction Institute, Box 1003, Ketchum, ID 83340. 208/726-9989.


The Toyota Production System is so successful that people look for ways to apply the lean production ideas and methods in organization settings. One of those ways is the force-fitting of Engineer Taiichi Ohno's seven wastes to organizations and projects. While organizations and projects manipulate materiel, they are better characterized by their actions of accomplishing something together - coordinating action, learning, and innovating. The seven wastes don't address those actions. Attempts to add to the seven wastes have to date broken the Ohno taxonomy. The authors propose a novel set of distinctions on the principal sources ofwaste in organizational settings.


Leadership, project management, and lean construction.



Macomber, H. & Howell, G. 2004, 'The Two Great Wastes in Organizations' In:, Bertelsen, S. & Formoso, C.T., 12th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Helsingør, Denmark, 3-5 Aug 2004.

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