Improve non-value adding Processes

Q: How do we apply this to processes that seem to be ‘working’ but in actual fact, value is diminishing, especially when general mindsets are “why change it if it’s working”

A: Ah! Isn’t that a general problem for all those who want to improve things in an organization?
“Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” is merely a matter of fear and non understanding what is really going on. You wouldn’t fly aircrafts like that, right?

Imagine you work in petrochemical industry. How does the organization do this in your plants? Wait till it brakes down? Of course not!

Take this analogy. You would make a survey or assessment to see where the flaws or improvement opportunities are, and make a cost-profit analyses, right?

Well this is the beauty op Makigami: if you make a current state analysis, you would visualize not only your current process, but also its flaws and probably you get a pain in the stomach about the enormous improvement potential. Just do it with the people involved in the process it selves. Do not convince them, they will convince themselves ánd the management…

Increase Value time in Makigami

How can Value Time decrease after performing a Makigami process improvement?

Q: VA stands for ‘Value Added Time’ isn’t it?

So than how can it happen that, after we improve the process, this time decreases with 25%? Is that a mistake?

A: No, this is no mistake!

When analyzing the current state, tons of losses will become visible and lots of improvement opportunities and ideas will popup. So it is not unusual to discover that Value Adding activities can be performed in some other way, faster, more efficient etc. In such cases you will achieve the same value in less time!

Of course the trick would be to ‘cash’ this.
There are 2 possibilities:

  1. Creating the same value in less time = Efficiency gain. This can only be cashed if you do not need to pay for this time anymore.
  2. Creating more value in the same time= Effectiveness gain. The cost will stay the same, but you will have higher revenues from those costs.

Download Makigami Forms

The Makigami forms are downloadable in PDF format and can be printed on A0 format.

Every better copy-shop should be able to do so for you.

In the PDF you will find 3 forms

the ‘head’ section:

First form, left section

a middle section:

Second form, middle section

a tail section:

First form, right section

For the analysis of a complicated ‘current state’ you might need multiple middle sections. We used more than 20 occasionally!

A typical future state would easily fit on a head plus tail section

Click here to open the PDF files and save them to your computer:

MAKIGAMI FORM A0 (Deutsch – German)
MAKIGAMI FORM A0 (Nederlands – Dutch)

If you need different languages, please provide us with a translation and we will post a translated version for you.

How to use the Media lane in Makigami

Q: I had my first exercise with a Makigami map last week.
I wasn’t clear on how the document or “media” lane is used to capture documents, screen shots or other elements that are exchanged across steps in a process. The medium may move horizontally down its lane, cross to an adjacent lane, jump several lanes (as when a waiter delivers an order slip to the kitchen, bypassing service management), or, of course, die temporarily or permanently in an in box or holding area for approval, etc. How does the depiction compare, say, with showing “mechanisms” on an IDEF0 diagram, where vertical arrows from the bottom border of the chart show how a computer program or tool correlates to a process box?
Note that with IDEF0, a document or procedural item can point to the top of a box if it controls or governs that task. It just seems to me that more detail is needed as to how the physical or electronic pieces move about, change custody, and get transformed or stalled.

A: The media-lane visualizes what data-carriers are being used to carry the data in the activities. It is not intended to follow the data-carrier, however if needed you might do so.

My experience is that it is enough to visualize the enormous masses of data-carriers to convince that there is a lot of redundancy and not needed complexity. Goal Achieved, no more need for extra analysis of the loss!

The principle: Once a loss has been identified, in stead of further describing, following and analyzing, get rid of it! That is the main purpose of the current state Makigami! To Visualize where the losses are. Once you can see them: eliminate them!

How to distinguish Value from Non-Value

Q: What is Value adding versus Waste? let’s take an example: when I make an email for an another department, what is Value adding and what is Waste during this activity, same for the people who will receive the email and read it?

A: There are 3 reasons to do something in your company:

  1. It makes the primary process (your conversion, say ‘the line’or ‘the machine’) run more efficient or more effective. (I see no way how an email makes this happen…)
  2. It does not influence the line, but it makes the customer happy. (May I assume the customer does not care about this email?)
  3. Now, if the customer does not care and the line is not running better, there can only be one more reason to do it: It is a legal obligation (no, not some company rule but really LEGAL and please take lawbook with it to check what it says).
    Since in my country there are no legal obligations as far as I now to send emails… draw your conclusion!

Now please refrain from all kind of mind constructions how emails make machines run better… that is all just organizing problems instead of eliminating them.

Ask your selves: Who needs what information to do what, that really really needs to be done otherwise the company falls apart… And how can he get it in most optimal way. Now emails are extremely rare to be value creating….

– you may not get the answer you like, but maybe, just maybe you get the answer you need… –

How to create Sustainable Process Improvement

Critical success factors

What to do:

  1. Eliminate as many as possible steps, actions, interfaces, complexity etc. Anything that adds no value: get rid of it, so it can’t be in the way and does not need any attention!
  2. Make sure that all the relevant steps, activities, data etc.  are logically arranged: available in the right moment and place. Every action that needs to be performed should be making complete sense to the one that needs to take it. Step into the position of the ‘operator’ and check whether the right thing to do really makes sense from his or hers perspective. (The right thing seems to be a natural thing to do).
  3. Make sure all the ‘workplaces’ (what or where ever that may be) are absolutely ‘spick and span’ ; clean, well-organized,
  4. Make sure players in the process have sufficient overview on what is going on, make it ‘visible’ at a glance what should be done, how and when. Use visual techniques where ever possible.
  5. If something goes wrong: Do not focus on the person! Focus on the question: Why did it make sense for this person to do the wrong thing (if he would have had a choice, he would have done the right thing wouldn’t he?) So whenever things go wrong: adapt the system, to make it more ‘logical’ to do the right things!

How to do this:

  1. Design the process together with all key players that have to perform in the process; only in this way you will get all crucial information and understanding from the team members to implement the new process
  2. Be very VERY critical when discussing what is value adding and what not (thus what should be enhanced and what should be eliminated). Typically most of the non-value adding activities are considered to be ‘necessary’… and thus they remain annoyingly present…
  3. Adding people, space, investments, complexity is NEVER a solution. Simplification does.
  4. Use the power of ‘human intelligent decision making’; allow decision making within the operation, based on clear decision criteria, based on reliable data.
  5. Use the power of human pattern recognition: the less cluttered the process, the easier it is to detect anomalies in the field. Allow people to respond to such in a way that makes sense.
  6. Always check: What would be the normal situation at this point in the process? What could be different, and what would make sense to the ‘operator’ to do in such circumstance?


  1. Allow ‘operators’ to be responsible for the correct outcome of the process by providing solid designed processes and conditions to fulfill the tasks within them.
  2. Do not focus on individual players, however focus on the whole system.
  3. It is the management that is responsible for providing a system where players can perform
  4. Only the players in the system can provide the inside knowledge about what they need to perform

International Format for Process Improvement Case Descriptions

International Format for
Process Improvement CASE DESCRIPTIONS

Name of the Process

Start Situation

General Process Description
General description of the process
Why this process needed to be improved
What at are the problems?
How severe are those problems
What is known?
ISO meets Reality?
Is there a target to aim for?


KPI Comparison

Current State

Designed Future State

Realized Future State

% +/-

Throughput time Average
Value Added Time
Non Value Added Time
# Forms/Data carriers
# Transfers
# Proces Touches
#Transactions Total
Correct & Complete
Cost per Transaction


Opinions – Responses – Experiences
Customer(s) to the process
Person who gave assignment
People who work in process
Improvement Team


Essence of the solution/improvement


Estimation of the value of this improvement (in money or auditable outcome)

According to Future State Design


Direct costs
Cost in earlier/later process
Improved Revenues

v1.1 Arno Koch

Card: Essence of 5S Workplace Organization

Organization improvement
5S Workplace Organization
Description: 5S is a technique that describes the way to a friendly and stimulating working environment, in which deviations are immediately visible.


Procedure: This can be achieved in five steps:
1. Sort

  • When in doubt….throw it out!!!

place all items that are not used in the current process in an auction area (Red Tagging).

2. Store

  • Where; Determine the location, depending on the usage of the item;
  • What; Clearly indicate what should be available
  • How much; Determine the quantity

3. Sweep

  • Define who is responsible for which areas
  • Set up cleaning standards (5W2H)
  • Make spots that are difficult to clean more accessible. Cleaning = inspecting!

4. Standardize

  • Fail safe; Cannot go wrong
  • Visual steering mechanism; Warn when deviating
  • Visual tool; Visible: One Point Lessons, general information

5. Sustain

Make sure that people are willing to follow agreements:

a. Make the best way the easiest way;

b. Reward good behavior

Check compliance with agreements by performing audits.

Different visions organizing working environments:

Shed: private, closed, aimed at individual Supermarket: public, open, aimed at group
Result:   A friendly and stimulating workplace:

  • Everything has a fixed location and quantity
  • Everybody can immediately see, pick and return items required for the process
  • Search time is maximally 30 seconds
  • The workplace is impeccable clean
  • Deviations from the standard are visible in one glance
  • The process is under control by performing everything according to an fixed agreement. Everybody acts according this standard until a better standard has been found.
  • There is a minimal amount of simple paperwork.

Card: Working Goal Oriented

Working towards your goal

Organization improvement
Working Goal Oriented

  1. What are the company goals?
  2. What are your goals?
  3. Are you getting closer to your goal every day?


  • How to…
  • Why not?
  1. Do you put effort in clearing obstacles that keep you from reaching your goal?