Faster & Better Improvement, People’s Time Free’d Up, and Creating Lean Thinking People.

This is the fifth and final blog about why a value stream organization makes sense for most lean companies.
Improvement Works Better with Value Streams.
Continuous improvement is the life blood of lean. A value stream team is usually better at continuous improvement because the improvement processes are clearly their responsibility. The value stream measurements lead to new improvement projects out of  the weekly meetings. The real time problem solving at the production cells and support processes is a part of the value stream improvement, instead of separate departments or people.

When you put these things together into a value stream team, we have a focused and accountable approach to continuous improvement. The team-members an see the waste because they see the whole flow through the value stream. They measure the processes and identify how they can be improved. And they work together cross-functionally to solve problems and improve the flow.

Value Streams Free up Managers’ Time.
When there is an empowered team in your Value Stream,  routine decisions can be addressed by the people doing the work. They have the full information, standardized methods, and can make decisions that serve the customers and solve problems. The decision are made better, quicker, and easier than having managers involved.

Value stream processes – as opposed to the traditional departments – have better quality, lower inventory, and more timely completion of the work. This reduces the workload on managers because the processes are under better control.

All this leads to better work, better decisions, faster response to issues and problems, and …. frees up the managers to work on more strategic & longer term issues.

Value Streams Create Lean Thinking People.
This is a more subtle issue. When you have teams of people working in value streams instead of departments, they soon lean about lean thinking. They may have training in these topics, but they also learn them every day when they work in the value stream. They can see the whole flow. They have line of sight to the customers. They are involved in cross functional teams making self-generated improvements. The value stream team members become lean thinkers by living through value Stream activities.