Too Lean? Too Much Focus on Value-Added Processes Creates Non-Value Added Conditions

Bob Doering, Quality Engineer, CorrectSPC, LaGrange, USA

Keywords: Lean, Value-Added, Non Value-Added

Industry: Manufacturing

Level: Intermediate

ABSTRACT

Many Lean practitioners are driven to reduce waste by eliminating activities deemed to be non-value added. Overzealous changes without evaluation of their risk of failure can spell disaster to the Lean implementation. Two problems can arise from this scenario. One is applying the Lean concepts “too much” to the point that the process slips into an out of control condition. The second is mis-categorizing activities as Non-Value Added that are not Value-Added, but are necessary to prevent a process from becoming Non-Value Added. Although these activities do not add value, they assure that the value is protected from being lost. They form a third leg of lean, equally as important as Value-Added and Non-Value Added. These activities must not be targeted to be reduced or eliminated, or the process will suffer.

In this presentation, a case study that examines several examples of activities that are not Value Added, but absolutely necessary for maintenance of process ability to remain Value Added. Two areas where these problems are discussed are in gaging application and process specifications. It will also examine a process that is “too lean”, causing it to vary more than it would if the Lean concepts were more judiciously applied. This presentation should provide a caveat to all Lean practitioners that not all activities that are not Value Added need to be eliminated, and even those actions that seem to be wasteful uses of resources may actually be critical to the process success.


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Continuous Improvement is not just something a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) practitioner leads their organization in practicing, but is also a core competency of their professional makeup. That is why more and more innovative and leading companies are looking for leaders that use the LSS way of thinking in everything they do within their organization.

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