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  • Lean Manufacturing

    Defining Value

    , National Integrated Solutions Manager

    I was introduced to Lean Manufacturing several years ago by my manager. When I first reviewed the information, my impression was that it’s the common sense approach to manufacturing. Why would someone go to the trouble of writing a book about it? Then my manager encouraged me to use the tools by Lean to map out workflows and manufacturing processes. At this point, I began to see how this could provide a competitive advantage. Value Stream Mapping, a Lean tool, defines each production step’s value within a manufacturing process and references it to the customer’s value perspective. Lean classifies each step in a workflow by its value, as a value-add or a non-value add step. Value-add steps are those which can be charged for as a line item on an invoice. Non-value add actions often occur to accommodate equipment restrictions, physical ability and may appear “easier” on the surface. However, studies of the printing industry have revealed that 85% to 90% of all processes deliver no value to the customer. In other words, in a ten-step manufacturing process, eight to nine of the steps provide no direct benefit to the customer. (more…)

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