We Need to Think End-to-end
In both scenarios the customer does not benefit from our optimization. We sub-optimized our area of responsibility without taking the complete company with us. Only if everyone involved in creating value is working together and bottlenecks are removed from all stages do customers truly benefit.
Finding and Removing Bottlenecks
For being able to optimize the whole, we’ve to look outside of our home turf. We have to find out how customer demand reaches our organization, how it flows through the various departments and how the demanded value is finally delivered to our customers. One tool to use for such analysis is Value Stream Mapping.
When we’ve identified the biggest bottleneck in our end-to-end flow, it’s time to start removing it. If it lies in our area of responsibility, that’s rather easy. But if it is outside of our direct reach, we need to get into office politics – we need to convince others that they have a problem and that they have to fix it. That’s usually not too easy. But, again, only if we optimize the whole instead of sub-optimizing parts of the value creation flow inside our organization will the customer truly benefit.