Lean initiatives opt to improve production, quality, and lead-time of operations in hopes of improving overall manufacturing.  The end goal is to provide the highest quality product while continuing to meet demand and reducing waste in the process. Several lean tools are available to trim defect totals and machine downtime through kaizen, a Japanese term which means “change for the better”.

Identification of the Six Big Losses is one of several lean tools used by manufacturers today to understand the most universal forms of waste within manufacturing operations.  In addition to other tools, such as root cause analysis, 5S, and JIT production, detection of the Six Big Losses will streamline production and expose bottlenecks that are costing manufacturer’s unnecessary cash.


The Six Big Losses can be broken down into three categories:

Availability Losses


  • Machine Failure
  • Unexpected Breakdown of Equipment
  • General Maintenance

Set-Up and Adjustment

  • Changeover
  • Material Shortages
  • Machine Warm-up

Performance Losses

Speed Losses

  • Operator Efficiency
  • Machine Wear down
  • Operating Under Capacity

Small Stops and Idling

  • Jams, Blocks, and Obstructions
  • Cleaning
  • Output Checking
  • Misfeeds

Quality Losses

Production Defects (During Production)

  • Product Damages and Expiration
  • Scraps

Startup Rejects (Before Steady Production)

  • Improper Assembly
  • Scrap
  • Product Damages


To address manufacturing waste problems, companies need to identify sources in which the above occur and utilize data to measure performance. By focusing on the bottlenecks of time and material waste accumulation, overall manufacturing operations will be more efficient as a result.

Learn more about Lean Manufacturing Tools.