What is ‘VALUE’?   And what is ‘WASTE’?   How to make the distinction?

What is Value versus Waste?

Let’s take an example: When I make an email for another department, what is Value Adding and what is Waste during this activity? Same for the people who will receive the email and read it?


3 reasons to do something:

'Value' is when it makes the primary process (your conversion, say 'the line' or 'the machine') run more efficient or more effective

I see no way how an email makes this happen… Don’t try to find reasons. What did you REALLY wanted to achieve with this mail? What is the REAL value (if there is any)?

'Value' is also when it makes the customer happy

When it does not influence the actual production (the conversion at the machine or line), does it then thrills your customer? Does it make him really happy? (So not first make him unhappy and now try to control the damage.) So does he care about this email?

Whether we like it or not: 'Value' is when it is a real legal obligation

Now, if the customer does not care and the line is not running better, there can only be one more reason to do it: It is a legal obligation (no, not some company rule but really LEGAL and please take law-book with it to check what it says).
Since in my country there are no legal obligations as far as I now to send emails… draw your conclusion!

Organizing problems

Or eliminating problems

Now please refrain from all kind of mind constructions how emails make machines run better… that is all just organizing problems instead of eliminating them.

Ask your selves: Who needs what information to do what, that really really needs to be done otherwise the company falls apart… And how can he get it in most optimal way. Now emails are extremely rare to be value creating….

– you may not get the answer you like, but maybe, just maybe you get the answer you need…


Organizing a problem

'We need this planning system, otherwise we do not know what to do when'

The value is: Give the customer what he needs in the moment he needs it. Find a way to get this done. You don’t plan your toilet paper, nor your beer or coffee. And when your planning is hardly ever correct, why do you plan at all?

'We have to control each product; what if the customer gets a faulty one?'

The value is: Bring 100% good product to the customer. Why do you think you can perform 100% correct checks when you are not able to produce 100% correct? Find ways, instead of organising this problem!

'We have to better organise Customer Complaints'

The value is: The customer has no complaints, we fulfill or exceed his expectations. Being polite and nice when he complains of course makes him feel heard. But he should not have complained at first!