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Value Stream Analysis - Getting It Right!

Apr 4, 2008
Another problem that is even more unnerving is the inability of the implementation team members to understand the real essence of value stream analysis as the Black Belt might be trying to communicate to them. Black Belts, however, need not worry too much - because if they use the prescribed methods, they can easily eliminate all these problems.

Explained below are some of the options available to Black Belts, which can be used for overcoming these problems.

Getting the Analysis Right

The first thing that Black Belts need to do is ensure that the value stream analysis is done in the right manner. No doubt Black Belts have the requisite technical knowledge and know how to do their job, but since not all business processes are the same, they need to be extra cautious while carrying out the analysis. Mere technical knowledge is often not enough obviously because value stream analysis has a lot more to do with identifying and classifying the various sub-processes into specific groups based on their total contribution to the main process.

Another thing that makes value stream analysis a difficult task for Black Belts is the requirement that the identification and classification be done keeping in mind the future needs and requirements of the business and not just as a means to achieve the existing goals and objectives. This implies that the analysis is required to be carried out in a manner that would give top priority to processes that hold the most potential even if at present they may not be contributing much value to the main process.

Now, since it's quite obvious that mere technical knowledge can never do proper justice to all these factors, Black Belts need to use their visionary aptitude and their experience to get the analysis right. If they want, they can also seek inputs and suggestions from employees and senior management officials, especially while dealing with critical business processes that might directly affect production or delivery to the end-user.

Getting the Communications Right

After getting the analysis right, the next thing that Black Belts need to do is communicate the true essence of the analysis to all the stakeholders, especially the implementation team members who might be assisting them. This is essential because team members generally do not have as much technical knowledge and expertise as Black Belts and if the true essence of the analysis is not communicated to them in simple words, they would fail to understand the real purpose of the analysis.

As a result, it is highly unlikely that they would be able to do justice to their job, something that will eventually start affecting the implementations. Personal briefings, regular meetings and discussions, distribution or printed copies are some of the options Black Belts can use to get the communications right and consequently ensure the success of the Six Sigma implementation project.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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