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“Where there is a product (or service) for a customer, there is a value stream.  The challenge lies in seeing it.” – Jim Womack, Lean Thinking

When you look at your business, whether you are a product or service provider, it’s easy to overlook the unseen impacts of the departments that don’t interact with your customer. When designing your customer experience, the first step is to understand your value stream and outlining all of the steps and touch-points your process has with your customer.

When outlining your value stream, it is important to review the full end-to-end value stream, not just the steps that involve your customers.  A Value Stream map outlines all activities involved from request to fulfillment.  By taking a critical look at your value stream, and how each department is involved, you can begin to look for non-value added activities, which your customer would not be willing to pay for.  Value added activities, on the other hand, are easy to spot, as a customer would be willing to pay for them. An example of a value-added activity is an interaction with your company, or receiving a product or service.

When looking for non-value added activities, it is important to look at your internal processes.  When processes are complicated internally, there are implications on the customer service that may go unnoticed.  Are there times when a customer has asked about the status of an order or service, only to be put on hold several times to find out the status?  Is your delivery timeframe or turnaround time unnecessarily long because of the internal processing that occurs?  These complicated internal processes have a direct impact on your customer.

There are many benefits to value stream mapping over and above the opportunities to improve processes for your customers.  Value Stream Maps also provide great documentation when trying to create standard operating procedures.  If you’re looking for more information on Value Stream Mapping, or are looking for help with creating your Value Stream Map, contact Propel Solutions at [email protected].