Muda, Mura, and Muri are three Japanese words representing core focuses in the Toyota Way of eliminating waste and inefficiency and increasing profitability.

MUDA – Activities that are wasteful, primarily caused by lack of communication and not understanding the system or the purposes and goals of the organization. Only the last turn of the bolt tightens it; the rest is just movement, creating no value.

MURA – Unevenness, excessive burdening of people or machinery. If a standard procedure is not followed, there’s a tendency for different results to be generated for a single activity or step. To limit waste of materials and time, it is beneficial to establish best practices standards for each step of the process.

MURI – The word stands for unreasonable, overburden, or absurdity, most likely due to inadequate skills, poor planning, under estimation, or poor task schedules, leading to inconsistent production, inefficient stops and starts. Solution: plan the manufacturing process well; prioritize activities, understand the process variables such as time, resources, and skill levels of workers; ensure estimation is done correctly.

Closing quotes:

“Efficiency is intelligent laziness.” — David Dunham

“There are only two qualities in the world: efficiency and inefficiency, and only two sorts of people: the efficient and the inefficient.” — George Bernard Shaw

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” — Robert A. Heinlein; 1907­–1988, author of science fiction novel “Stranger in a Strange Land”