The Toyota Production System is famous for its relentless focus on waste elimination. The chief architect of TPS Taiichi Ohno and his staff coined the “7 wastes” as a way to convey the concepts to employees. Overproduction was considered the worst of the seven wastes since it usually lead to the creation of the other types.
Companies I visit have of course have often made their own additions to the list. The list by no means is exhaustive. Industrial Engineering broke things up into different categories for study long before the seven wastes were created. The IE categories were Operation, Transportation, Inspection, Delay, and Storage. Click here and here for a couple of old text book examples.
I saw a couple of striking examples of “overproduction” recently in the newspapers. Not even Toyota is immune from this problem it appears.
Taiichi Ohno had a famous quote that was essentially, “It is easy to make money in an up market. Only a strong company can make money when sales go down”. Currently Toyota is not making any money. My guess is that they are reflecting hard upon the recent situation and what lead to the overproduction and over confidence in recent years. It will interesting to watch events unfold…