Having established the customer added value and identified and optimized the value stream, the next step of Lean Thinking follows: The value stream must be brought into a continuous flow. In most cases this step requires a complete reorientation of the way of thinking and the idea of efficiency!
We are all born with a way of thinking that wants to group activities and tasks into "functions" or "departments". Our minds assume that it is efficient to group and collect things. Because it seems to make it easier to manage them. Studies with small children have already shown that the vast majority of them divide a process according to the different process steps. An example of this is the folding, packing, labeling and gluing of a letter. First they fold all letters, then they pack them, and after labelling all the envelopes, they close them last.
This way of working and organizing can also be found in many companies. Because here too, activities are carried out in lots. In the paint shop of an automobile manufacturer, this means that all green parts are painted first, before switching to the red parts and finally taking care of the yellow parts.
The parties are employed by this type of production and the equipment is under full capacity. Accordingly, our common sense tells us that this is also efficient. But this assumption is fundamentally wrong! Studies have shown that this type of work and the division of tasks results in very long waiting times. After all, most products just lie around waiting for most of the time to be processed.