Yesterday while speaking with a friend of mine he shared with me something interesting that I had seen time and time again. He pointed out to me that the production rates of his shop had been increased by nearly 20%, I said "wow, that's fantastic how did you do it?" His reply caught me off guard a bit when he said, "well the shop wasn't running the machines at full speed so we cranked them up." I pondered his response for a second and then pointed to a gentleman on an old bridgeport and asked "Can you tell me what that gentleman is doing over their?" without going to deep into my conversation I will say that what he was doing was adding Value to a product for a customer.
You see it is much easier to understand when you see the drill bits transforming the raw material into a valve stem and ask in the context of a customer....... "would I be willing to pay for that?" the answer most likely will be yes because the activity is producing the product.
After the Value added concept was made clear we walked by some material sitting in queue, I pointed to the material and asked "Can you tell me what this is doing here?" he said "It's waiting to be put on a machine." Again without driving to deep into our conversation he began to realize that his description "waiting" identified a form of muda.
Often times we may press on the Value added portion of a value stream not completely realizing that this only makes up between 5% to 15% of the entire activities. But the portion that the customer is not willing to pay for get's no attention. The point is the next time you find yourself pushing a machines pace be aware that without a TPM program in place you may just break down the part of the Value Stream the customer really wants and leave the real opportunities for improvement just hanging around.