This week we move on to over processing waste. Over processing is probably the most difficult waste to see and understand. It is defined as doing more than what your customer is requiring. As with the other wastes, you should conduct a waste walk. This time, look for:
- Added layers of inspection
- Deviations from standard work
- Extra steps outside of the process to protect the quality of the part
- Unnecessary and/or cumbersome processes
If you observe one or all of the situations above, then you are doing more than what your customer is requiring. More importantly, you are doing more than what your customer is paying for. There can be many reasons why you are over processing products, and the reason is most likely due to defects, which we will discuss next week.
Defects or non-conforming parts usually drive a need for over processing to catch the problem before it is delivered to the customer. Usually, when a problem is discovered, we go into repair mode and put inspections in place to catch the problem and install a band-aid to fix it. The problem with band-aids and over processing is it never addresses the real issues, and it impacts the organization’s bottom line. The thought is, if we put more band-aids in place, the problem will be caught and never reach our customer. Thus, we meet our goal of having happy customers. The risk of not addressing the root cause is that no amount of over processing will guarantee that the defect will not reach the customer. There is always a risk that defects will make it through all layers of over processing undetected. When you have over processing as a waste it can drive many of the other wastes because you have to make more than you need, store more as emergency stock, and transport material around more, all adding steps and costs to your organization.
If you can resolve your over processing wastes found in your waste walk, you will discover many of the other wastes will be avoided or eliminated.