A value stream is all of the connected activities and processes that come together to deliver a product or service to a customer. It starts with the acquisition of raw materials and components and end with delivery of the final product or service to the customer.
Simple Value Stream Depiction
The concept of value stream is fairly idealized. It is important to remember that any notion of connected processes, functional organizations, suppliers, transportation systems, customers and business processes contain both value-adding activities and waste. The objective of Lean and Operational Excellence initiatives are to eliminate as much waste as possible as possible so that only value remains.
When value streams are optimized, they accomplish certain objectives themselves. They:
- Define and specify value
- Eliminate wasteful steps
- Flow where possible
- Pull where flow cannot be achieved
- Manage toward perfection