Excessive Processing – applying features or process steps that have no value to the end user. In this series titled “The 8 Lean Wastes and Their Potentially Disastrous Effects”, we examine case studies for when companies, government organizations, or entire industries have allowed a specific type of waste to escalate to a disastrous effect. In this post, we review the waste of Excessive Processing to understand what causes it, how to see it, and how to eliminate it.
The 8 Wastes and Their Potentially Disastrous Effects:
In 2002, a study was completed by the Congressional Budget Office to understand healthcare industry waste. The study revealed that 30 – 50% of all healthcare procedures (and costs) are wasteful and add no real value to the patient/customer. Another study conducted by Donald M Berwick & Andrew D Hackbarth, “Eliminating Waste in US Healthcare” JAMA 307, concluded that between $265B – $615B of the annual dollars spent in healthcare are wasted on overtreatment and administrative complexity, both of which are forms of excessive processing. This highlights a tremendous opportunity to reduce the burden of healthcare cost and the time it takes to make a person suffering from health problems whole again. This has an immense impact on the cost of health insurance and all other costs associated with getting treatment.
A 2011 study found that the price tag for the 12 most commonly overused tests, such as annual electrocardiograms (EKGs) for heart disease and imaging tests for lower-back pain, was about $6.8 B. Also, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, the US spends more than $650B more than other developed nations on healthcare costs in 2006. This difference in cost has nothing to do with US patients being sicker, it’s more driven by wasteful processes, greater availability of services, and technological innovation.
For more information on this study, visit the Health Affairs at:
Excessive processing can take many forms. Manufacturers must be vigilant in determining what specific product attributes customers find valuable and seek to remove those that aren’t necessary from their products – resulting in reduced processing time and resources consumed in production. Excessive processing waste can either result from the product’s design or during the manufacturing process. During production, activities such as over-mixing, over-heating, over-drilling, or just about over-anything is classified as excessive processing. These activities sometimes show up as defects and other times not. Either way, the objective is to enhance your ability to see and eliminate this type of waste as urgently as possible. A good customer feedback loop combined with a systematic tie-in to your continuous improvement program helps to both see and eliminate excessive processing waste. Ideally, you’d like to see and respond to the waste before it gets out of the factory but customer feedback is usually required for excessive processing resulting from an inadequate product design. However, excessive processing resulting from over-doing something in production is usually detectable and addressable by setting clear standards and guidelines for executing activities. Automatic data collection and process validation are great tools for identifying this type of waste. Other tools include auditing protocols against clearly defined standards for time and activities required for completion. Tools such as Standard Work Documents and Layered Auditing Protocols can be used to minimize excessive processing as well.
Impruver also helps you see waste from excesive processing. In Impruver, this type of waste could either show up as downtime, rate, or yield losses. Performance against production standards help to identify exactly how much waste or room for improvement exists for your manufacturing operation. It helps to be able to pinpoint which specific areas, products, production lines, or team members are most wasteful in order to prioritize improvement efforts. Impruver allows you to filter and group performance data in a way that shows you exactly where to focus. As you continue to eliminate excessive processing waste, you’ll realize continuous improvement and performance breakthroughs.
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