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Tools To Make Value Flow To The Customer

Sep 15, 2008
The key to ensure value flow to the customer is the understanding of customer requirements. Understanding what they need and when it is required are essential to managing a proper flow.

Tools To Ensure Value Flow to the Customer

The entire process flow is considered and generally, the process starts with the customer order and ends with the product reaching the customer. Various tools like 5S, constraint management, level loading and lot size reduction can be used.

QFD can be used as a tool to achieve value for the customer.


5S is most important in Lean deployment. It stands for Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. Each step is self-explanatory. Sorting is separating or classifying what is necessary and what is not. Those that are unnecessary should be eliminated.

The next step is to put the items into the correct place so that they are easily accessible. The workplace has to be cleaned and cleared of clutter to ensure safety.

Then it is necessary to standardize the cleaning-up process and to make a habit of sustaining a clean workplace.

Constraint Management

Constraints are the limitations of the process. They require special attention, as they determine how much output can be achieved from a process.

As such, sufficient resources should be provided to keep it running. Every unit supplied and produced should be of superior quality and operate as efficiently as possible.

Level Loading

Level loading is making a schedule that is stable and smooth, as well as receptive to market conditions. The aim is to make produce the same quantity every day.

Loaded schedule can be created by calculating the Takt time - the Takt time for each part and the sorting of the list by quantity and Takt time.

Pull System

The Pull System involves creating the product only when the need arises - and making it fast. Replacing items only when they are consumed controls the flow and quantity produced.

It requires the use of level loading and flexible processes.

Flexible Processes

Another factor is using the tools of flexible processes, which are lightweight and maneuverable and which can be quickly reconfigured to produce various items according to customer needs.

Lot Size Reduction

A lot size is the quantity ordered from the plant or supplier or the standard size of the production process. Larger lot sizes have the problem of waste, delayed feedback on defects, excessive inventory and obsolete inventory and so on. Lot size reduction to optimal levels for maximum benefits at least cost is the key.

These tools can be used to provide value to the customer, keeping in mind requirements as stated by customers. An ideal scenario would be: a customer places an order (pull), the factory has the resources to produce (level loading), processes are in place to create as ordered (flexible process) and the order is produced and provided or delivered to the customer according to their specifications.
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 six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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