Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Value Stream Management, Pull Value

Traditional models of enterprise are based on production. The producer is at the center of process which also includes vendors and buyers. From the producer to the buyer, we can think of this as a process of pushing goods and services. The firm designs, generates, markets and sells its wares to an end user. The communication between producers and end users consists primarily of the producer convincing the customer that what is offered is valuable and the feedback from a potential customer who chooses to believe and buy or go elsewhere.

I'll argue that most of California's system operates on the push model. The seminal event in the availability of a service or support comes when an agency creates a service design and presents that to the Regional Center for vendorization. The Regional Center may then offer that service, as designed, to a client. Although some agencies (such as ¡Arriba!) submit minimal service designs with the intent that the actual service provided will be designed by the client, the system model is clearly designed according to the old industrial pattern.

In a lean system, this model reverses. The analysis, process and activity are all designed around the idea of pull. In other words, the end user defines the value. Instead of a series of suppliers beginning with miners and farmers and ending with a consumer, we look to a series of customers leading from the consumer back through the value stream. The macro process would look like this, there is a meeting at which the client describes his or her situation and what they want. The professionals attending that meeting would then be responsible for providing the support indicated to the client which they would seek from either their superior or an outside agency. They are now the customer pulling value from up stream. It's like The Lanterman Act only for real.

No comments: