Here’s a light hearted topic for Lean Thinkers. “Overprocessing” is one of the 8 Types of Waste that we talk about in a Lean context (it comes from Toyota and Taiichi Ohno). One way of describing overprocessing is that it is wasteful to do more than the customer values. It can sometimes be difficult to find examples of this.
I didn’t take a picture, but you can check this out easy enough in a drugstore. A bought a stick of Old Spice “Red Zone” Invisible Solid, as I’ve been doing for a while. I opened the cap and saw this little Old Spice logo imprinted in the top of the antiperspirant stick. How cute. But also very unnecessary, maybe??
After the very first application of the product, the logo was literally wiped away.
I wonder how much the specialized machine cost, the one that was required to put that little logo on the stick? How often does it break down, stopping production? Does the marketing silo insist that their little logo be there? If so, is the cost of manufacturing that logo paid for by marketing? Would customers be less “brand loyal” without that logo? How many even notice if they’re using the product early in the morning in a semi-dark bathroom?
Anyway, I’m convinced it’s overprocessing and I’ll probably use it as an example of such. Do you agree?
Updated: This has prompted some excellent discussion in the comments. I was probably wrong on this one or should have asked “why?” first.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please scroll down to post a comment. Click here to be notified about posts via email. Learn more about Mark Graban’s speaking, writing, and consulting.