What is Non-Value Add Analysis

Guide: Non-Value Add Analysis

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Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is an experienced continuous improvement manager with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. With more than ten years of experience applying his skills across various industries, Daniel specializes in optimizing processes and improving efficiency. His approach combines practical experience with a deep understanding of business fundamentals to drive meaningful change.

Non-value-added analysis, a cornerstone of lean management, is an essential strategy for enhancing process efficiency and operational effectiveness in various industries. Originating from the Toyota Production System and later evolving into Lean Management, its primary goal is to eliminate waste or ‘muda’ activities that do not add value from the customer’s perspective.

This meticulous process involves reviewing and understanding each activity within a business process to ascertain its value contribution. Activities that fail to transform resources, aren’t done right the first time, or aren’t desired by the customer are deemed non-value-adding. This approach is fundamental for businesses striving to remain competitive, optimize operations, reduce costs, and enhance the customer experience.

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What is Non Value Add Analysis?

Non-value-added analysis is used as a strategy method as part of lean management in various industries to enhance process efficiency and operational effectiveness. Lean Management, which originally was developed as the Toyota Production System (TPS) and was referred to as Lean Management later as it evolved, had the core principle of removing waste or non-value-added activities from the process. Activities that are classified as non-value-added analysis are also referred to by the Japanese term “muda” and are activities within a business that do not add value from the perspective of the customer.

Conducting non-value-add analysis is the process of reviewing and understanding each activity in the process to identify if it adds value in the eyes of the customer. Non-value-adding activities usually include unnecessary steps, redundancies, delays, or anything that leads to inefficiency without enhancing the product or service.

In general, if an activity does not meet all three of the following criteria, it is a waste:

  1. It transforms people, information, or materials.
  2. It is done right the first time.
  3. The customer wants it and is willing to pay for it.

If you cannot say yes to all three of the above, the activity is non-value-adding.

Value Add analysis Pie chart

Value Add analysis Pie chart

The Importance of Non-Value Add Analysis

For a business to remain competitive and maintain or improve margins it is key to focus on optimizing operations, reducing cost, and enhancing the customer experience. Non-value-added analysis serves as a critical tool for achieving these objectives. By systematically identifying and addressing activities that do not add value, organizations can streamline their processes, thus reducing unnecessary costs and improving overall efficiency. This allows businesses to remain price-competitive in the market while also maintaining profit margins. This waste forms part of the business process and is passed on to the customers in the form of additional product or service costs.

Consider the theoretical example of the process below. The process that has reduced non-value-adding steps will take less time to produce and thus result in a cheaper product or service cost for the business, which can be passed on to the customer or maintained as the company’s margin.

Value add analysis

Value add analysis example

Eliminating or reducing non-value-adding activities often results in improved process quality. When processes are leaner and more focused on value-adding steps, the chance of errors or defects decreases, leading to higher-quality outputs. This directly impacts customer satisfaction, as customers receive products or services that meet or exceed their expectations in terms of quality and delivery time.

Methodologies of Non-Value Add Analysis

Non-value analysis is a key approach to finding opportunities for improvement to make the organization leaner. Several methodologies can be deployed to identify and eliminate non-value-adding activities. These methodologies each have unique approaches and are used to analyze processes from different perspectives.

Process Mapping

Process mapping is a foundational tool in Lean Six Sigma and a tool most practitioners learn early on at the Yellow Belt level. Process mapping is an ideal tool for non-value-added analysis as it involves creating a visual diagram of the workflow within a process. This diagram, or process map, displays each step in the sequence of activities from start to finish of the process.

Basic flow chart or Process map

Detailed sub-process map

Using a process map to visualize the process, stakeholders can follow the process through and ask the question of each step, “Does this add value to the customer?”. If the answer is “no,” it can be marked as a wasteful step. This can then be a focus, ideally removing the step from the process. If it is not possible to eliminate the step, it should be analyzed to understand how it can be reduced in terms of resource use from the process.

Another use for the process map will be to review other inefficiencies in the process, such as bottlenecks, redundant steps, or unnecessary complexities that do not add value to the end goal.

Time and Motion Studies

Times and Motion Studies are a more analytic and quantitative approach to understanding a process when compared to process mapping. This method involves creating a detailed analysis of the time and effort required to perform each task in a process.

Value add analysis Excel sheet

Value Add analysis template

Time and motion studies involve measuring the time taken to complete each task and the motions involved in these tasks. By analyzing these aspects, organizations can pinpoint areas where time 

and resources are being wasted on non-value-adding activities. This could include excessive movements, waiting times, or any action that does not contribute directly to completing the tasks.

The analysis from Time and Motion Studies can lead to process redesign, where tasks are streamlined, and non-essential activities are eliminated or reduced.

Value Stream Mapping

Value Stream Map (VSM)

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a high-level overview that looks at the flow of information and materials through an entire end-to-end process, from suppliers to customers. Unlike process mapping, which focuses on individual processes, VSM covers the entire value stream, providing a broader view of how inputs are transformed into outputs.

The VSM helps to identify non-value-adding steps at both micro (individual process) and macro (overall value stream) levels. This includes identifying delays, inventory pile-ups, and any form of waste. The VSM also provides a strategic overview, allowing organizations to see the big picture and make more informed decisions about where to focus improvement efforts for the greatest impact.

Implementing Non-Value analysis

The approach to applying non-value-Add analysis to a business is a structured and strategic process that involves several critical steps for a thorough analysis.

Step 1: Identifying Non-value Add Analysis

The first step would be to review current processes using one, or all of the methods from above. This would involve breaking the process down into individual steps and identifying activities that do not contribute to adding value to the customer. This can include redundant steps, unnecessary movements within the process, prolonged waiting times, overproduction beyond demand, and the occurrence of defects.

Step 2: Assessing the Impact

Once you have identified activities within a process that are non-value-adding, the next step is to assess their impact. The impact of all steps can be measured by how much time, resources, and other costs are attributed to those activities.

This assessment will help in understanding the level of inefficiency these activities bring to the process, including their impact on the process flow, employee productivity, and overall operational costs. This will give you a measure of the overall benefit of removing the process step if there is a cost to doing so, which will allow you to conduct a cost-benefit analysis.

Step 3: Developing Improvement Strategies

Based on the assessment of the non-value-adding steps identified in the process, you should now develop strategies to eliminate or reduce the non-value-adding activities, with a focus on eliminating first and reducing if you are unable to eliminate them. 

This could involve redesigning the process for greater efficiency, adopting new tools or technology that will streamline operations, or changing the workflow to bypass unnecessary steps.

For this process step, it is important to involve all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the improvements are practical and consider all aspects of the process.

Step 4: Implementing Changes

Once improvement strategies have been developed, the next step is to implement these changes in the organization. This will include making any physical and tangible changes to the process, which could include reorganization of equipment and machines, changing tooling and equipment, updating process documentation, and training operators on the new process method. Close monitoring of the implementation is essential to ensure that the changes are effective and to make adjustments as necessary.

Step 5:Continuous Monitoring and Improvement

Non-value-added analysis is not a one-off event but a continuous process. Regular monitoring of the processes is essential to ensure they remain efficient and free from non-value-adding activities. Continuous feedback mechanisms should be in place to detect any inefficiencies. This enables regular reviews and adjustments to the process, ensuring sustained efficiency and improvement over time.

This step is also about instilling a culture of continuous improvement within the organization, where employees are always looking for ways to enhance processes and add value.


Implementing non-value-add analysis is a strategic and structured process vital for streamlining business operations and maintaining efficiency. It begins with identifying non-value-adding activities using various methodologies like Process Mapping, Time and Motion Studies, and Value Stream Mapping. Assessing the impact of these activities, developing improvement strategies, and implementing changes are crucial steps in this process. However, the journey doesn’t end with implementation; continuous monitoring and improvement are essential to ensure long-term efficiency and to foster a culture of continuous improvement. This ongoing process is key to an organization’s ability to stay competitive, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction, thereby ensuring sustained business success.


A: Non-Value Add analysis is a systematic approach used to identify and eliminate activities within a process that do not contribute to meeting customer requirements or add value to the final product or service. The goal is to reduce waste, improve efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction by focusing on value-added activities.

A: Non-Value Add analysis is important because it helps organizations identify and eliminate wasteful activities that do not contribute to customer satisfaction or the desired outcome. By streamlining processes and reducing non-value add activities, organizations can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and create more value for their customers.

A: To identify non-value add activities, review the process flow and look for steps that do not directly contribute to meeting customer requirements or adding value. Examples of non-value add activities include unnecessary approvals, redundant paperwork, excessive waiting times, and unnecessary transportation. Analyzing the purpose and impact of each step will help you identify non-value add activities.

A: Prioritize non-value add activities based on their impact on the process and customer satisfaction. Focus on high-impact activities that consume significant resources or cause delays. Consider factors such as frequency, time wasted, and potential for improvement. By targeting high-impact activities, you can maximize the benefits of elimination or reduction with the least effort or resources.

A: Measure the success of Non-Value Add analysis by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) related to process efficiency, customer satisfaction, and cost reduction. Metrics such as cycle time, throughput, customer feedback, and cost savings can provide insights into the impact of eliminating non-value add activities. Regularly monitor and review these metrics to assess the effectiveness of your improvements.

A: No, Non-Value Add analysis is not a one-time process. It should be part of an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement. Organizations should regularly review and analyze processes to identify and eliminate new instances of non-value add activities. By fostering a culture of continuous improvement, organizations can continuously optimize processes and drive sustainable efficiency gains.

A: Yes, Non-Value Add analysis can be applied to any type of process, whether it’s in manufacturing, service delivery, administrative tasks, or any other business function. The principles of identifying and eliminating non-value add activities can be applied universally to improve efficiency and reduce waste in various processes across different industries and sectors.


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Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is a seasoned continuous improvement manager with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. With over 10 years of real-world application experience across diverse sectors, Daniel has a passion for optimizing processes and fostering a culture of efficiency. He's not just a practitioner but also an avid learner, constantly seeking to expand his knowledge. Outside of his professional life, Daniel has a keen Investing, statistics and knowledge-sharing, which led him to create the website learnleansigma.com, a platform dedicated to Lean Six Sigma and process improvement insights.

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