What is Over-Processing Waste According to Lean Manufacturing?

How to Reduce the over-processing and what is over processing


In this article, you will learn what is over-processing waste and the most relevant impacts to the lean manufacturing activities.  Also, discover how to reduce the over-processing in 10 steps.

Over Processing Definition

Overprocessing is adding more work or value to a service or product than the end-user(s) wishes or require.  Over-processing involves making more labor, using more components, or adding more steps in a product or service than what is required by the end-user(s).

Over-processing is defined as a waste in lean manufacturing when the company is using:

    • inappropriate techniques,
    • oversize equipment,
    • working to tolerances that are too tight,
    • perform processes that are not required by the customer,
    • over-engineering a product:
    • unnecessary features that the customer does not use, but that increase the cost to the business and so forth.ix

It includes any unnecessary use of its resources such as:

    • people,
    • equipment, or
    • machinery,
    • working space, etc

In fact, over-processing is one of the eight (8) wastes of lean manufacturing.

Over-processing is considered the sixth waste in lean manufacturing because is a non-value activity for the end-user(s).

The eight wastes of lean manufacturing are:

  1. Transport
  2. Inventory
  3. Motion
  4. Waiting
  5. Overproduction
  6. Over-processing
  7. Defects
  8. Skills – The 8th Waste

The main causes of the waste of over-processing are with regards to:

  • Examples of over-processing are:
      • utilization of higher precision equipment than necessary,
      • using components with capacities beyond what is required,
      • running more analysis than needed,
      • over-engineering a solution,
      • adjusting a component after it has already been installed,
      • having more functionalities in a product than needed.
      • generating more detailed reports than needed,
      • having unnecessary steps in the purchasing process,
      • requiring unnecessary signatures on a document,
      • double entry of data,
      • requiring more forms than needed, and
      • having an extra step in a workflow.

How to Reduce the Over-Processing Waste in 10 Steps?

Possible solutions to reduce the over-processing wastes are:

  1. Keep the end-user in mind before starting the tasks to make only the quantities needed.
  2. Redesign the sequence of operations and processes to identify improvements and opportunities to remove non-value activities and provide to the level of quality and expectation that the end-user(s) desires.
  3. Re-evaluate your process paths and procedures instructions, especially those with expensive stages and steps where there is may exist a simpler and cheaper route.
  4. Implement the 5S tools.
  5. Identify the root causes of over-processing waste.  Understand the product and service requirements from the standpoint of the end-user(s).
  6. Creating Standard Operating procedures. Working instructions that involve excessive over-processing must be improved to reduce the over-processing time and activities.
  7. Organize the working area, placing components and equipment near the production location, and putting materials in an ergonomic position to reduce stretching and straining.
  8. Design and create new work tools.
  9. Refining the layout, workflow, and processes.
  10. Implementing Single-Minute Exchange of Die.

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REFERENCES: What is Over-Processing.



Picture of Ramon Cayuela, MS, BS, Chemical Engineering

Ramon Cayuela, MS, BS, Chemical Engineering

CIQA President and CEO.
I've been working in validation engineering since 1992 with many multinational pharmaceutical companies. I love sharing my passion and knowledge with others. If you have any questions about anything (or just have general questions). I will be more than happy to assist you. You can count on the BEST customer service on CIQA. I go to great lengths to make sure my clients are 100% satisfied with their purchases and check emails/messages consistently throughout the day. You can rest assured that everything being sold here is as-described or your money back. I look forward to working with you!