As a quick refresher, the lean waste overprocessing is the application of extra work, process steps, or effort than is required by the end customer. Sometimes “going the extra mile” for a customer to improve service pays off, but here is an example of where those extra steps were detrimental.
A process at Thomson Plastics incorporated placing parts in protective plastic bags to prevent scuffs and scrapes from occurring during shipment. The operator’s process was as follows:
When the container was full, the material handler would take the container away and replace it with an empty container.
Well we received a letter from the end customer of these parts who wanted us to change our process. Their assembly operators were not appreciative of being required to un-tie the bags before using the parts. It was an extra set of steps in their process to remove the parts from the bags and caused them to use extra effort to undo what the Thomson Plastics operators did.
The knots were tied in the bags so they wouldn’t slip off the parts in shipping – we merely assumed that would happen but it wasn’t tested – but if we could ship the parts in untied bags and the parts wouldn’t slip out then we should eliminate that step.
So we did. And the customer was happy.
Where in your processes are you putting too many unnecessary steps that the customer not only doesn’t want but would rather you didn’t do it at all? Are you putting tickets into envelopes at the ticket window right before handing them to customers who will immediately take them out of the envelope to get scanned/torn? What other kinds of opportunities like this exist?