A Lean organization runs on a customer triggered pull system. After all it is your customer's definition of value that will affect the bottom line.
Taking the time to review and reflect will help your organization check that you haven't run off on a tangent.
An effective and easy way to review the value of your work processes is through a technique known as Value Stream Mapping (depicted below).
In a nutshell, Value Stream Mapping or VSM involves:
- laying out all the steps involved in a given process - one way to do this is through the use of post-it notes
- identifing which steps are value added, non-value added and which are steps are necessary for the business process
Bottlenecks and steps that can be removed from the process, jump out at you, because a once ambiguous process has now been displayed in a visual format.
You can use this technique with specific key metrics such as cycle-time. Reducing cycle time is the objective of the kaizen blitz in Module 2 of LSI's Greenbelt Program.
The Greenbelts' mission is to develop a sustainable strategy to reduce the cycle times for the processes identified by the organization.
Think about one of the key process at your company, in which you play a role. Are there any steps within this process that strike you as being unnecessary and non-value added for the customer? How might these steps be eliminated or if this is not possible, the time taken to perform them, shortened. From your customer's perspective what defines "value"?