Value Streams Are Misunderstood
I really like seeing more and more organizations trying to implement lean. Seeing organizations start to understand lean and want to improve using the lean mindset and principles is very refreshing. A great step in the right direction.
But not all lean starts are created equally. Or for that matter even get off on the right foot.
I recently saw a company giving a presentation on some HR practices and apprenticeship. They were doing some really great stuff around apprenticeship for a machining shop.
What caught my eye was their comments about lean and aligning to value streams. The company listed their value streams on a slide. The first few sounded more like machining functions rather than a value stream but I don’t understand the business so I could be wrong. Then I saw the bottom half of the list: Accounting, Project Management, Human Resources, etc…
Yikes! These are not value streams. These are functions that support value streams.
Misunderstanding of value streams is quite normal. In order to be a value stream, it has to create value for the customer. To understand what creates value a company has to have a definition of value.
I use one I learned from the Lean Learning Center:
- The customer must be willing to pay for it
- It must change the form, fit or function of the product/service
- It must be done right the first time
In a machining shop, accounting does not create any value for the customer. Nor does Project Management.
Value streams are linked process that create value to a product or service for customer. The are not departments (accounting , project management) or functions (milling, cutting).
Grasping the true meaning of value streams and what your companies value streams are can really open your eyes to the improvement possibilities.
Posted on February 17, 2014, in Tools and tagged Lean Tools, Non-Value Added, Value Added, Value Stream Map. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
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