Most of us would likely agree that we want our workforce to spend most if not all of their time on “value added” work, which is often defined as the work our external customer would be willing to pay for, if they knew what we were doing.
But studies indicate that even in the ‘best performing’ organizations, “value-added work” is well under 50% of the work being done!
Consider the following examples of “non-value-added” work:
- Inspections to find errors
- Rework to fix errors
- Errors or defects that are never found and make their way into a defective final product
- Work that sits waiting in front of a bottleneck, or resources that are idled behind a bottleneck
- Unnecessary work
- Excess inventory
- Work product that does not match customer needs or customer needs that go unmet because they have not been surfaced.
If this list is a familiar one, you’re not alone… and while this list could go on, the point is that there is a huge opportunity for improvement for most of us if we could simply convert just some of the non-value-added work into pure value-added work.
Simple… but not easy!
Assuming we conduct an honest assessment of all work processes, here are four ideas for increasing the amount of value-added work:
- Work on the bottlenecks
- Increase understanding of/ alignment with what customers truly value
- Identify root causes of errors, defects, etc.
- Eliminate non-value-adding administrative work such as unnecessary email, unproductive meetings, or reports that do not produce additional value for the customers or the organization
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