So, what do your customers value?
Something of value to a customer is defined as what they’re willing to pay for. Likely, it’s things such as products that meet their specifications and on-time delivery. It’s up to you to determine what those things are. Once you do, and you can scrutinize each step in your process through that lens, you may be surprised at the amount of waste that actually exists in your systems. Naturally, there will be some steps that don’t add value for your customer but are essential to delivering the product, but for the steps that add no value whatsoever, finding a way to lose them could significantly improve throughput, order accuracy, and a host of other metrics. An added benefit will be less frustration among your workforce because they will be able to focus on getting things done rather than wasting time with steps that they know aren’t benefitting anyone. Your approach to eliminating waste could take many forms, from evaluating certain types of processes to focusing on one particular area of your business that may be struggling. As you make improvements, you may expand to cross-functional processes that impact multiple functions downstream. However you go about it, eliminating nonvalue-added steps from your processes can help you to level loads and enable your team to focus on work that your customers truly value. This, in turn, will directly impact your bottom line in a positive way.