Customer Focused Teams Come From Value Streams

This is the third blog about why a value stream organization makes sense for most lean companies.

Value Streams Create a Team-Based Organization
The 4th Principle of Lean Thinking is all about empowering the people working in the company. This is called “respect for people” at Toyota. An important aspect of empowerment is for people to work together daily in natural teams.

Traditional companies generally organize themselves around functional departments. The idea (which goes back to Taylorism in 1911) is to group people based on their skills. Lean thinking takes the opposite view. People are grouped according to the flow of materials and information.

This breaks down the functional barriers and enables flow. This enables good communication between the people working in the flow; especially when visual methods are used. This creates a shared sense of mission because the team members are working together to serve the customers and prosper the company. They a not a “cog in the wheel”; they are an achieving team.

This value stream team organization leads to better results for the customers and for the company. And – most importantly – sets a firm foundation for team-based, cross functional lean continuous improvement.

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