A kaizen event is used to eliminate wastes in a task, typically through the application of lean tools. However, there exist no methods to insure that the most effective process improvements are done first. Given limited resources, the improvement of which of the tasks within a process would deliver the maximum benefit (maximum value added)? The value-based improvement prioritization tool addresses this question, using value stream mapping and an adapted application relative worth analysis (process relative worth analysis) as a basis to help generate a prioritization scheme for deciding what type of improvement action is to be taken for which tasks. To adapt relative worth analysis for use in manufacturing, the parameters of cost, quality, and delivery are used as measures of customer value. The result is metrics for percent relative cost and worth for each of the three parameters as well as for a singular combination of the three parameters, process net value. It is important that all of these measures rely on information available within a value stream map. Through an example application, the well known ACME stamping example from Rother and Shook’s Learning to See, we clarify the application of the tool to a manufacturing process. The result is a description of which tasks in the process are most in need of improvement and what the focus of that improvement should be. The user of the value-based improvement tool can prioritize each process task with respect to the three parameters to see which tasks are in need of improvement. Not only does the process relative worth analysis yield task priorities, but it also indicates which parameter to improve it upon and whether the task improvement should be focused on reducing cost or increasing worth.

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