The 8 Forms of Lean Waste, Applied to Business: Extra-Production

Food technicians working together in a food processing plant

Extra-processing waste can occur daily in an modern office.                                                                                                          

Carroll Elger|
January 29, 2019

In manufacturing, “lean manufacturing” or simply “lean” has become a dominant management philosophy, deciding much of how the manufacturing component of the supply chain is handled to maximize efficiency of resources. Lean focuses on minimizing waste by identifying activities that add value and separating them from those that don’t, emphasizing the elimination of those that don’t.


Due to lean’s success in the manufacturing industry, managers in other industries began to adapt lean to their work, including business managers. Lean management has become a staple of some contemporary offices, modified to fit the white-collar workplace.


A key tenet of lean is the understanding of the “8 Forms of Waste”. Waste, in this context, is defined by as, “any step or action in a process that is not required to complete a process (called “Non Value-Adding”) successfully.”


Ideawake has found that our clients often set innovation challenges for their stakeholders that involve trying to reduce one or more forms of waste. We believe this is an excellent goal to have when using Ideawake so we’re producing this series of posts covering each individual waste and how Ideawake’s innovation management software could potentially be used to address them. The 8 types of waste are as follows:


  1. Defects
  2. Overproduction
  3. Waiting
  4. Non-utilized Talent
  5. Transportation
  6. Inventory
  7. Motion
  8. Extra-processing



Extra-processing in lean refers to producing a product further than the customer requires. Adding features that the customer does not require, aesthetic details on a product that won’t be seen, or any other product changes that don’t add value to the product are all considered extra-processing waste.


In manufacturing, extra-processing is a costly waste. Given that extra-processing often uses both material and manpower resources, any extra-processing occurring at a plant can create large amounts of waste quickly. Additional features added to a product is the most likely source of extra-processing in manufacturing. Manufacturers need to acquire detailed specifics of the minimum viable product required by the customer before manufacturing begins, and ensure that workers are aware of these requirements. Using materials that are more costly that what’s necessary can also be a source of extra-processing.


In the office, extra-processing is a more common, and costly, than many would think. Anytime an employee is doing more work than required on a task or project, extra-processing waste is occuring. Examples could include;


  1. Working beyond a project’s stated scope
  2. Working even minor priorities to “perfection” when not necessary
  3. Management requiring approval from redundant supervisors for work completion


Managers carry the brunt of the burden in reducing extra-processing waste in the office, as they are often the ones who set work requirements, review employees work and give feedback, and set approval requirements. These are all opportunities for managers to see extra-processing and address it. However, addressing the issues could be where managers need even more information.

Ideawake suggests challenging employees on an idea management software platform to find sources and solutions to extra-processing waste. Managers with insight can post relevant challenges that get employees thinking about how to solve the issue. If you want to book a demo to see how this process could work for your company and learn more about innovation management and strategy, click here to schedule now.

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