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Good question! Value-Added Steps pass the 3 customer-focused criteria:

  1. The customer is willing to pay for it (cares)
  2. Transforms the item toward completion (something changes)
  3. Done right the first time (not an inspection/rework step).

If it does not pass all three criteria, then the step is either Non-Value-Added or Non-Value-Added but required (NVA-r). The Value-Added Analysis is a technique that lets you look at the process through the eyes of your customer. It’s that external perspective that helps us see the potential waste in the process since NVA steps add to the cost of doing business.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.