Learning to identify the seven types of waste (MUDA) is first challenge in implementing Lean Kaizen. There is a big difference in looking and observing and it requires lot of focus to to see the waste. Famous “Standing in a Circle” exercise used at Toyota by Taiichi Ohno San to train new members. is one of the most effective way of learning to see waste at the Gemba. This is part of the philosophy of genchi genbutsu, which emphasizes going to the actual place to observe and understand.

During this exercise, the member is directed to stand and observe an operation carefully, and to identify the waste within the operation and the conditions that cause the waste to exist. Members are often left standing for 8 hours or more before the sensei (Guru) is satisfied that they have seriously seen the waste. Reason it takes longer to see waste is lot of activities going on at Gemba will look like normal activities and human mind is also dwelled in many thoughts.

If the exercise is taken seriously, the amount of waste observed can be over whelming.