Waste of motion will be prevelant in any company be it a production facility, office or a retail store. In order to reduce or eliminate this type of waste, areas such as bending, reaching, lifting and excess walking must be looked at for better methods. Something as simple as a pen placed on the wrong side of your work station or desk would be considered a waste of motion, as it would have to picked up with one hand and transfered to the other.

Bending, Reaching and Lifting

Reduction of bending and reaching may not only be beneficial ergonomically, it can help increase safety within your facility. When heavy parts are stored close to the ground, it takes time and effort to bring them up to a working level. These parts should be stored at waist height whenever possible to avoid unnecessary bending and lifting of these heavy boxes. Conversely, light parts can be stored closer to the ground as they are easier to bring to working level.

Parts that are stored far away from the point of use should be looked at to be stored closer. In a production process, parts that are currently in use should be stored within arm’s reach.

Tools that are used often should be kept close to prevent having to walk away from the work area to look for them. They should also be kept in a designated location. This is known as 5S, a place for everything, and everything in it’s place. Find out more by clicking on the 5S link.


Wasted movement is not as easy to identify as extra bending or reaching. Picking up a part prior to its use would be considered wasted movement. Having to grab parts from behind when there is room to store them in front would also be wasted movement. Reaching for parts that are stored too high at point of use is also waste of movement. If an operator is responsible for operating two consecutive machines and they are required to take several steps between the machines, this may be an area for improvement.

When trying to reduce waste of motion, movements should be kept small wherever possible. Use of hands and forearms should be used instead of fully extending the arm to reach for parts. Free up hands by use of jigs and fixtures. Gauges should be situated in a manner which prevents someone having to look around obstacles or behind machines.