7 Forms of Waste: Over Processing

Over Processing as a form of Waste in Lean Maintenance and How to recognize it

Last week we discussed the waste of transportation in the context of maintenance. This week, we take a close look at over processing as a form of waste in maintenance. Defining over processing in maintenance is challenging as it is often confused with overproduction, but this week’s case study, 15 Times Too Many, clearly demonstrates how to identify over processing in PM and effectively reduce it with CMMS.

What Is Over Processing in maintenance and how to identify it?

How often do you hear technicians say, “I don’t know why we even do this” in response to certain tasks? Having tasks in a preventative maintenance schedule that have no value are common. When this occurs, it is called over processing. Examples of over processing in maintenance include unnecessary tasks and unnecessary assignment of staff to those tasks. Over processing is one of the largest contributors to wasted time and money. Constant evaluation of PM programs to identify and eliminate these types of unnecessary efforts improves efficiency and increases the value added by your maintenance effort.

Using the failure data in a CMMS to sort and eliminate irrelevant PM tasks is a better use of time and adds value to the activity. If an item in the preventative maintenance list has no failure history, consider whether that item was necessary. Taking this perspective can reduce a PM list from 20 tasks to 5. But that’s only a starting point – to reach maximum efficiency with CMMS and reduce over processing, the system needs to be continually updated. This is achieved by a clear and constant stream of communication between the Maintenance crew, Planners, and Operations people.

Examples of Over Processing in Maintenance
  1. Over inspecting a system without cause.
  2. System having a continuous maintenance personnel sit with the equipment to ensure its runs properly.
  3. Just completing high level inspections without recording data.
  4. Improper benchmarks for changeouts
Case Study

In the example below, Chad Bibaud, Automation Technician III with ALPS, recalls an instance where his maintenance crew was over processing inspections on a conveyor. The frequency of these inspections and the other tasks associated with it required unnecessary effort and overtime from the technicians:

“Without a CMMS, over processing was a typical occurrence in the last 3 industries I worked in – mining, greenhouse, and food processing. Something I frequently witnessed would be a request for repair techs to perform service but lacking advance communication to all stakeholders. The techs would arrive to perform the job, but production wasn’t able to shut down and then be forced to ask everyone to leave and come back. So, you’d have eight technicians there and you’d either have to find them other jobs in the facility or pay them for four hours to go home. No value is added with these tasks. With a CMMS, Production must provide tracking hours to be able to plug the data into CMMS to track the downtime of your equipment. There is a difference in the tracking hours allocations: there’s breakdown downtime, and there’s scheduled downtime.

Breakdown downtime is not scheduled maintenance. A call indicating a conveyor won’t start results in someone like me being sent to repair. Tests are performed against wiring, motor function, fan rotation and so on. Without CMMS tracking, I could be sent out on a call like this 10 to 15 times a month – without solving the original problem as technicians aren’t getting all the necessary data. If an entire crew is dispatched through a CMMS program properly, then you can pull that data, leading to better overall diagnostics for seemingly simple but tricky repairs. This way, all technicians can review a history of notes and attempted solutions. This leads to a major reduction in wasted and duplicated effort. This results in repair crews putting their times into value added repairs versus doing what others did over and over.” 

The main takeaways from Chad’s experience are communication with Planners, proper reporting, proper training, and paying attention to failure patterns. The PM is going to evolve all the time.

Next week we take a closer look at excess inventory as a form of waste in lean maintenance. Stay tuned!