How to Reduce Over-Processing

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As I said, over-processing is difficult to detect and therefore, to reduce. You need to prevent it.

The only successful way to reduce over-processing is prevention.

What can you do?

  • Most important it is to apply the second rule of Lean Self: Believe that everything can be simpler and better than it is right now. Whenever you are doing something, look out for opportunities to make it simpler. Never assume that you have found the simplest way already.
  • Before doing anything ask yourself, which value it creates.
  • Set yourself process improvement goals. If you have done the same thing often and know how long it takes you usually, ask: “How can I do this in half the time?” Be rigorous. Do not try a ten percent reduction. This will never challenge you enough to re-define the process. You would only try to speed up things a little, risking rework. Rather, define an ambitious goal, and do not be too disappointed if you do not achieve it totally.
  • Look out for over-production. This gives you hints if over-processing is at work, too.
  • Look out for inventory waste. Especially temporary inventory can make actions necessary, which are not required without it. That happens because you need to manage temporary inventory. Managing inventory, without reducing it, is waste. If you do not have the inventory, you can skip the managing.
  • Look out for waiting waste. Waiting can be a symptom that something takes longer than it should and could. Besides, one often needs to manage waiting waste, too. That is superfluous processing.

I plan to discuss over-processing and Lean methods to reduce over-processing in more detail in later posts. The secrets I will share with you are about establishing a continuous flow of value, pull principle, and continuous process improvement.

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