Faster lead times, better products, streamlined offerings, greater cost-competitiveness: before customers can realize these benefits, companies must in turn work to make nearly all internal processes more efficient. Behind the scenes, organizations like SPMTM Oil & Gas have begun to use value stream teams to drive efficiencies and ultimately further enhance customer experiences. Few customers are aware of this internal-facing team working on their behalf, so we’ve asked Aubrey Campbell—our Value Stream Leader and an 18-year veteran with the company—to walk us through how a value stream team functions to ultimately deliver better, more reliable products for our customers.
Enhancing customer value
Originally used in agile methodologies, value streams refer to a series of steps that occur internally to add additional value to a product or service before a customer receives it. By nature, a value stream requires input from multiple teams and departments, so we turn to a dedicated value stream team to oversee the process of improving efficiencies and delivering increased value to our customers. As Value Stream Leader, Aubrey is involved in all facets of a specific product line: everything from identifying better manufacturing processes to improving quality and testing to enhancing product design, all of which ensures the customer receives an improved, more cost-effective product.
Value in Efficiencies
Are customers seeing improvements in their own experiences as a result of these internal processes? According to Aubrey, absolutely.
Sometimes customers are even looped into the process, such as with new product creation. For instance, 10 operators using 10 slightly different valves may be consulted about the possibility of SPM Oil & Gas designing a valve that works for all, which would reduce manufacturing time and complexity and provide customers with a nearly identical product more efficiently and cost-effectively. Aubrey explains that the tangible value for customers doesn’t end there. With increased manufacturing efficiency, customers receive their product faster. And due to frequent collaboration, customers can count on an accurate time frame and clear understanding of when they will receive their products
Value in supporting the customer
While Value Stream Leaders like Aubrey seldom interact with customers, they are integral to a customer’s experience with a company and to the success of their operations. To ensure sites run smoothly, the value stream delivers reliable, high-quality products on time by using a variety of lean processes and design improvements to increase productivity, improve safety, and reduce costs, to make sure our customers are happy with the product and the experience.