Continuing with the Customer Value Add series this piece will address Non-Value Added Processing.
Another area where one can look to be more efficient is looking at the current processes steps and addressing areas where there could be non-value add due to non-value added processing.
What is non- value added processing?
These are tasks that the customer wont pay for but business might like reviews, approvals, checking, inspections, multiple of unneeded signatures, redundant processing, monitoring, etc.
As a software tester I dont always agree with this kind of waste. Testing does inspection, reviews, etc. And this is part of the software development process. What is important is to understand where there is non-value add and eliminate those. Some can be reduced but not completely reduced.
An example of this waste is when my colleague has to send receipts to manager for approval. This took a lot of time and added time to delivery to customer. So the manager and this person sat down and created a process. A check list that had several questions if those were all yes he could approve them and if there was a no in there it went to the manager for approval. One of the items in the checklist was is it less than $5000? Basically manager said anything less than $5000 could be approved by my collegues. This saved a lot of time for the customer and products were delivered in half the time it took before the process was put in place.
If you are in the health industry or financial industry inspection and double checking is really important and cannot be leaned out. What is important to understand is the distinction to make sure what we do really counts in the end towards making the product better for the customer.
How to find non-value added processing steps?
Create a current state map. You can use vision or hand write on a white board. Then label each step as value added or non-value add. Then see if there are ways to reduce or eliminate or combine non-value added steps. There will be some steps that can never be completely eliminated and we shouldn’t try to either.