7 Forms of Waste: Overproduction

Overproduction in the Greenhouse and how a CMMS can reduce or eliminate this form of waste in your maintenance program


In Part 1 of this series, we introduced the history and philosophy behind the 7 Forms of Waste in manufacturing, as well as a brief summary of each waste. This week’s blog will take a deep dive into the first form of waste and how to avoid it: overproduction.

So,  What is Overproduction and why does it occur?

Overproduction occurs as a result of performing preventive maintenance schedules too frequently. Good CMMS data will help determine the proper frequencies over time by having historical deficiencies and failure data, allowing you to adjust your schedules. Data driven decision making is the most effective way of ensuring you are not changing those filters, belts, and bearings too frequently – wasting money on spare parts and time. 

Often when PMs are initially set up, the manufacturer’s OEM Manual is referenced for activities and frequency – bear in mind that most manufacturers are not only in the business of selling equipment but also the aftermarket sales of spare parts and service. While using the recommendations as a starting point, documenting the findings each time the PM is performed and then adjusting the frequency based on those findings is one of the largest benefits to a CMMS. Spending time inspecting a piece of equipment every week and never finding anything wrong with it is overproduction.

How a CMMS can eliminate overproduction

Some systems have testing frequency requirements dictated by regulations that cannot be adjusted. More often, inspection frequency can be adjusted to longer intervals. This reduces the time wasted performing needless maintenance tasks and increases time spent performing value added activities. Condition-based monitoring of critical assets is a great solution for this but isn’t practical for all equipment in an operation. When properly utilized, a CMMS is a powerful analysis tool that drives decisions based on collected equipment data and is a great solution for less critical assets and systems in an operation.

Case Study

David Riseborough, VP of Project Management and Commissioning at ALPS, recalls an instance of overproduction in a greenhouse he previously worked in:

“A Preventive Maintenance inspection was set up for multiple PH sensors in the irrigation room. Part of that inspection was to remove, clean, and flush the sensor to remove any scale or residue. Next, the sensor goes through a recalibration procedure. This was originally set up based on the manufacturer’s recommendation for time frequency as a monthly PM. After several months, it was noted that each time the sensors were removed there was no residue. As a result of being disassembled so many times, some sensors began leaking around the seal.

This is a good example where overproduction of a PM cycle is not only time wasted but also damaging the equipment from too many interventions. It is like the old adage, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Using the CMMS data, the frequency was adjusted to quarterly – eliminating 8 cleaning and recalibration procedures per year for every PH sensor. It was determined that the sensors were still clean on the new schedule, but the quarterly recalibration was a value-added practice that ensured accurate data. Thus, it remained as a quarterly activity. I have seen more cases of maintenance backlog being created due to overscheduling (i.e. overproduction) which generally results in mass cancellation of PM work, some critical.”

Your PM program should be a living entity; constantly refining, updating, and adjusting to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your program. This is made simple with a powerful CMMS database.

Next week we will closely examine how and when Excess Motion occurs in greenhouse operations. Stay tuned!