What is Mura, Muri and Muda?

You may have heard about the concept of lean manufacturing, but do you really know what it’s all about? If not, no worries – the helpful and knowledgeable staff at C Tek will happily explain. Along with learning all about lean manufacturing, the C Tek staff can tell you about the various aspects of lean that make it popular and useful across many different disciplines. Some of the core concepts of lean are called Mura, Muri, and Muda. They were developed through the Toyota Production System methodology and are still widely used and applicable today. Collectively, the three “Ms” refer to an inefficiency in resource allocation.



Muda means “waste” in Japanese. It can also stand for “futility” and “uselessness,” all of which are negative connotations when it comes to productivity and activities that add value. This type of waste is considered to be one that does not add value, which is defined as work that provides customers or end users with value. This type of waste is further divided into two categories, which are “Type I” and “Type II.” The Type I waste includes products that do not essentially add value to customers, but that ultimately result in creating a safe end product. Type II includes products that do not add value to the customer at the end of the process. These products are not necessarily any safer either, which means that they should ultimately be eliminated from the production cycle.



Mura means “irregularity” or “non-uniformity” in Japanese. This type of waste is commonly seen in assembly lines that have not yet adopted lean practices. Non-uniformity develops when there is an inconsistent workflow that creates a surplus of production at one part of the cycle that leads to waiting or accumulation further down the line. The ultimate goal with this part of the system is to create an even workload so that there is no accumulation of waste or uneven distribution. One of the best ways to avoid inconsistency is to adopt a Kanban principle called “Just in Time.” This type of product manufacturing eliminates waste by ensuring that only the right amount of product is created, and it ensures that the product is created only when necessary. The Kanban production principle is heavily dependent on consumer demand. Supplies and end products are only ordered in accordance with customer demand, which in turn can help eliminate expenses and waste for the manufacturer.



In Japanese, “muri” translates to “unreasonableness” or something that is beyond a person’s ability to control. Muri is a type of waste that tends to accumulate and cause problems over an extended period of time. This type of waste often results from Mura, which means that the two should be addressed simultaneously to create a leaner and more efficient manufacturing process. This type of waste generally exists when there are too few machines or workers. The machines and workforce can become overworked due to the daily demands that they face, which results in stress, fatigue, and burnout. Illness, sick days, and machine breakdown are common consequences. There are a few ways companies can go about reducing this type of waste. Crating a standardized work flow is one key way to reduce waste. Designing work flow processes to be more efficient is another, which entails evenly distributing work flow so that no individual employee or piece of equipment or machinery is put under undo stress.


Reducing waste and improving efficiency are essential for a healthy and functional workplace. If you have questions or want to learn more about how you can optimize your work space to reduce waste and improve efficiency, contact C Tek today.