What is Value?

By Ron Pereira Updated on January 13th, 2011

Define Value

“Above all, lean practitioners must be relentlessly focused on the customer when specifying and creating value.”
-Womack & Jones, Lean Thinking

I love Seth Godin’s blog. He has written some amazing posts over the years but I may have just read my all time favorite.

The gist of the post was that there is never a need to lower the price of your product. Instead, he wrote, you need to focus on delivering more value to the customer so they are willing to pay more (or at least the same price).

This really made me think. Those of us attempting to “think lean” have all likely heard the famous 5 step process from Dr. Womack and his LEI friends. The first step is to define value.

Now be honest… do you really understand what this first step means? And if you do understand it, how much time do you actually spend attempting to understand what your customer – internal or external – values?

If I’m being honest I must admit to focusing more on the other aspects of lean… you know drawing material and information flow diagrams (a.k.a. value stream maps), constructing cells, and respecting people.

But guess what… if we would just listen to our customers, or possibly ask them for their thoughts once in awhile, we might uncover some amazing opportunities. And isn’t that what this continuous improvement stuff is all about?

Read Seth’s full article by clicking here.

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  1. Quinn

    June 23, 2008 - 3:05 pm

    It seems to me that the same principle applies to our careers. We are all individually suppliers of our given skill-set to our employers. Our goal should be to continually add value to our individual skill-set (i.e. degrees, certifications, and most importantly results) so our employers will continue to want to pay for our services.

  2. Ron Pereira

    June 26, 2008 - 9:49 am

    Great point, Quinn. I’ve never quite thought of it like that.

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