The waste of excess processing is more common than most business owners realize. It happens in every industry and can be a drain on labor, which increases costs while reducing overall quality and productivity. Common causes of over-processing include:
- Failure to review and refine processes as business needs change
- Lack of standards or processes
- Poor communication or unclear reporting channels
- Human error
What Valueless Excess Processing Waste Looks Like
Though quality processes are essential to your business, there is a danger of over processing when it doesn’t add any value to the bottom line. Not only is over-processing a drain on resources, it can also be a source of frustration to workers since they are likely to realize illogical standards and unneeded steps in the work they are doing. Following are some examples of over-processing:
- Requiring multiple reports for the same process
- Excess paperwork or data entry
- Requiring too many approvals before work can progress
- Long and unproductive meetings, or requiring the presence of unnecessary personnel at meetings
- Tracking projects in multiple systems
The best way to reduce over-processing waste is to make a regular practice of reviewing and refining systems and workflows. It is also necessary to empower your workers and ensure that training processes are adequate. The following suggestions can be adjusted to suit any working environment:
- Analyze the steps within your processes to determine the necessity of each step – Can it be eliminated or worked around?
- Fine-tune training systems to ensure employee knowledge and competence.
- Document processes and systems to reduce human error or misunderstanding.
- Clearly communicate standards in order to reduce the need for multiple reviews.
- Review all processes and procedures annually or bi-annually to ensure they are up to date and accurate.
There are 8 types of waste common in business, and they may effect you more than you think. Learn more with the previous post in this series: The Waste of Motion.