LSS for Education

What does “Value added” mean when improving your process?

Value added is an often-used term in many situations. In Finance and Economics it is used to refer to the profit: sales minus total costs. We also use it when talking about our products or services: they should add value for our customers.

But how do you decide what adds value for our customers – both internal and external – when trying to shorten our lead-times?

Everything that we do in our work adds value OR does not add value for our customers. And, as always, there is a “grey area” in between, so-called business value added activities.

Value added activities are those that the customer would want to pay for. For the rest, he/she won’t.

So if you spend your time searching for data, looking for documents, asking your colleague to answer your email because she forgot, getting internal approvals, filling your monthly travel expense forms, correcting some faulty data in your system, meetings, etc. are examples of activities your customer would not want to pay a penny for if you present them on your invoice. They are not adding value for the customer.

The reality is that you let them pay for all those activities anyway, but you do not itemise them on the invoice.

We let our customer pay for our inefficiencies. What can you do about it?

Option 1: do nothing.

You keep your inefficiencies, and keep therefore your costs high, so you have to charge your customers higher prices in order to create your own financial value added (profit). When your customer has not much choice, she will still do business with you.

At the end of the day, your margins are smaller, you charge your customer higher prices, and you need a higher sales volume to compensate for the smaller margin.

Option 2: reduce inefficiencies

If your aim is to provide value to your customers, it is a logical step to reduce and eliminate inefficiencies in every part of your business. You can learn how to do it in a practical, structured and measurable way at

This effort reduces your costs, increases your margins and you become more competitive on the marketplace.

Reducing inefficiencies (wastes) creates free capacity that was formerly occupied. As a result, you increase the capacity of your business: you can do more, serve more customers, deliver more products and services with the same resources.

This should be always our duty, in good times and in bad times. Don’t you think?

Beat the average.



How to Apply Lean Six Sigma at Schools?

“David, you have a very busy week ahead. Have you studied for those tests and exams?”

I was a bit worried. He had so much on his plate.

But even to come to this realization, was a journey on itself. As the week passed by and the situation changed, I found enough reason to write about how a school could benefit when applying the principles of Lean Six Sigma.

Principle #1: Customer Focus

First, asking David this last Saturday was easy. Getting the correct overview of his schedule for this week was not easy, because his school diary is not complete.

My son, David is a different student than I was back then. He is dyslectic. Focusing on what the teacher tells about what to do and when, is not easy for him to make good notes on.

When a school wants to improve their service (education) for their customers (girls and boys and their worried parents), they should understand that children like David may need some additional attention to make sure they have the correct notes in their school diaries about exam dates and times.

Teaching him to be self-supportive is good, but the teachers know their pupils and can decide when special support is needed.

Principle #2: Reduce Mistakes

After checking David’s diary we also logged in at the school website to check the test and exams of that week. The layout was not simple. Therefore we spent some time to figure out how it worked. There were many mistakes at the website when compared to David’s diary. Yes, I am objective here, because we checked the past exams against what was at this website.

Like every company, institute or organization, the school should be able to identify mistakes, faulty data, and defects in the output they deliver to their customers.

By applying Lean Six Sigma, the school could be aware of the accuracy of data: exams, content of the tests, times and classes.

Using the Six Sigma part of the methodology, you master how to identify and reduce mistakes in your own work and in others’:

Going even further: the layout of such websites should be easy to read – even for a dyslectic. ☺

Principle #3: Improve Delivery Performance

After some searching and hard work, finally we got the complete schedule for the week. David could start his preparation. And he had to do it fast. There were lots to do: English grammar, German words, Economy, Mathematics, Physics, a Dutch book presentation and History. As he was preparing day-by-day, the tests were cancelled one after the other. The teachers had no time for the tests they scheduled? What else were they doing?

The worst was the presentation on a book for David’s Dutch class. He prepared himself on King Arthur months and months ago but each time the presentation was postponed. So he had to prepare again, worry about it, get the book again from the library – and pay the late-return penalty.

You get the point: Schools – just like any other company – should work on reliability. Using the LEAN methodology of Lean Six Sigma, you learn how to make the operation go smoother, to not take unnecessary steps, no wastes, no unfulfilled promises. Schools should monitor the cancellations of test, exams and classes. They should identify the main causes and carry out improvements to see the decrease of those issues over time.

One of my private clients – a small machine refurbishing company – increased their on-time-deliver performance from 44% to above 90%.

How about yours?

Are You Interested in the Other 13 Universal Principles That Makes Lean Six Sigma Easily Applicable in Your Own Situation?

– Join our Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Program for a Rapid Overview:

– Want to dive into it and use it right away? Get one-on-one real-life coaching for guaranteed results:

– Want to master Lean Six Sigma to Expand Your Career Chances? Go to:

Make greater work.

Warm regards,