The second O in Tim Woods stands for Over Processing, sometimes referred to as Extra Processing. If you think that this sounds similar to Overproduction, you are right. But there are some important differences.
Over Processing waste is basically any work done that does not add value for a customer, whether internal or external. For instance, if you are building a refrigerator, you want the finishing on the parts that are visible to the customer to be very well done. But you don’t need the parts on the inside, like compressor wires, hoses, circuit boards, etc., to match. That would be over processing. Similarly, if you require signatures from management to perform certain functions, but they are not truly needed because there is limited risk, than that could be over processing. Even using complicated, bureaucratic language when something simpler will do is over processing.
Some of the main causes of Over Processing are
- “doing business as usual” when processes or technology has changed.
- doing work that is not required by the customer.
- extra steps that lead to waiting for the customer.
- in the case of signatures, not trusting employees.
- lack of communication between people at different steps or about customer requirements.
Just like with previous forms of waste, the best way to find these is to walk though the process as a team. And have that team look at your processes from the point of view of a customer. That will help you determine if there are steps you just don’t need. Simplify until you have met the customer requirements and nothing more. (There may be regulatory requirements that you need to meet that the customer does not care about, but you have to leave in. I will cover that in a future post on Value Added and Non-Value Added work.) Use technology when possible to automate steps and let your people do things that computers cannot.
If you think that the solutions for all of these wastes seem similar, they are. Look at your processes with an eye to all of the wastes in Tim Woods. Otherwise, you may risk underprocessing. 🙂