no waste

returnOver Production / Not Working to Plans


Over Production, in manufacturing,means building up a major stockpile of work-in-progress or simply making more than you need. In Toyota's view, this eats up working capital and takes up space for storage. We can also explore this as not working to plans or schedule. In either situation, you end up with more finished and semi-finished products than you can use, sell or deploy immediately.

What does this mean for the service sector where often the "production" process is often to demand? Even here, there is a need for raw materials, be it information, software or knowledge. Having something in place before you need is fine, it is just how to adjust the length of the "before". Having information available a long time before you need it can lead it being out of date when you get round to using it. Similarly, buying software a long while before your project starts can mean a new version coming out in the interim, and we have often seen people hanging around waiting for something to happen.

Not working to plans can have quite severe consequences: if you put up plaster boards in a building before the roof is sealed, a heavy rainstorm can see all your plaster board walls being replaced and reworked (this actually happened on one project we were involved with - as you can imagine, the costs to sort this out was rather high).

You may be guessing that this is leading to the concept of "just in time". But no, "just in time" or kanban in Toyota-speak is a good concept to follow but often all we need to do is to assess what is over production and not working to plan and deal with it. A often heard reason for over production is "we need buffer stocks to cover any stoppages". We would suggest you find out what is causing the stoppages and sort those out, then you can save money, not frustrate your people so much and reduce the environmental impacts of over production and working out of sequence. It is generally better to sort out the problems than to use workarounds to cover them up.

This waste is part of the classic Toyota 7 Wastes, which formed the foundations of Lean Operations. Toyota believes that these 7 wastes are the reason why we have physical wastes. However, as these were originally developed for large scale manufacturing, we explored what these wastes mean in a generic sense and have changed some of the emphasis so that they can be readily applied to other business areas.