The Principle: Value-added work takes precedence over everything else. All tasks should be synchronized around making valuable-work as effective as possible.
Therefore, one must understand at a deep level what is, and what is not, value-added work. This takes wisdom and experience, but is not difficult when the mind is trained to take regular notice of it. For a lathe worker, he is earning his pay “when the chips fly”. This is his value-add activity. Conversely, his time is being wasted when he walks the shop gathering tools, moves material hither and thither, or makes defective parts.
Work is composed of three types: value-add work, supplemental work, and waste work. The first and most important type, value-added work pays the bills and should be maximized and expanded. Second, supplementary work is necessary work, without which, value-add work cannot survive, but it does not produce returns on its own. Supplementary work should be shortened to the minimum amount possible. Lastly, waste work adds no value, and also does not support value-added work. Waste work is a hidden demon. He is elusive, but can be gotten out when brought into the light by mapping the process flow in detail.
Special attention must be given to preparation and conditions. A gardener who builds a greenhouse understands this principle, and creates an environment that promotes growth of value. The greenhouse extends his growing season, and thus increases his profits. Our lathe worker understand this principle as well, and builds himself a conveyor system to move materials quickly, creates a tool bench where all his tools are readily available, and implements inspection criteria to minimize defects.
References and Practical Tools for this Engineering Principle:
- The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker says, “Effective executives put their best people on opportunities rather than problems. Gear efforts toward results rather than work. Focus on strengths not weaknesses.”
- Learn how perform a Spaghetti Diagram. See The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker, pg. 30.
Real World Examples of this Engineering Principle:
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