Value-Added Time

Value-Added Time refers to the portion of the total time spent on a process or activity that directly contributes value to the final product or service from the customer’s perspective. It is a critical concept in Lean Management and process improvement, where the goal is to maximize value-added time and minimize non-value-added time (waste). By identifying and optimizing value-added time, organizations can enhance efficiency, reduce Lead Times, and improve customer satisfaction.

Calculating Value-Added Time

The formula for calculating Value-Added Time is as follows:

Value-Added Time (%) = (Value-Added Time / Total Cycle Time) x 100

Key Aspects of Value-Added Time

  1. Value-Adding Activities: Value-Adding Time includes activities that directly contribute to the creation of a product or service and are essential from the customer’s perspective.
  2. Non-Value-Adding Activities (Waste): Non-Value-Adding Time includes activities that do not directly contribute to the customer’s perception of value and should be minimized or eliminated.
  3. Cycle Time: Cycle Time is the total time required to complete one unit of a product or service from start to finish.

Identifying Value-Added Time and Waste

To identify Value-Added Time and waste in a process, organizations often use techniques such as Value Stream Mapping (VSM) and Process Observation. These methods involve analyzing each step of the process to differentiate between value-adding and non-value-adding activities.

Examples of Value-Added Time

  1. Product Manufacturing: In a manufacturing process, time spent assembling components to create the final product is considered value-added time.
  2. Service Delivery: In a service industry, time spent directly serving the customer or fulfilling their needs is considered value-added time.

Examples of Non-Value-Added Time (Waste)

  1. Waiting Time: Any time spent waiting for materials, information, or approvals is considered waste.
  2. Transportation Time: Time spent moving materials or products between workstations without adding value is considered waste.
  3. Defect Correction: Time spent reworking or correcting defects in the product or service is considered waste.

Importance of Value-Added Time

  1. Process Efficiency: By focusing on value-added time, organizations can streamline processes and improve Efficiency.
  2. Lead Time Reduction: Reducing non-value-added time leads to shorter Lead Times, enabling faster delivery to customers.
  3. Customer Value: Maximizing value-added time ensures that more of the customer’s requirements are met during the process.

Challenges in Optimizing Value-Added Time

  1. Process Complexity: Complex processes may have many interconnected steps, making it challenging to identify value-added time accurately.
  2. Balancing Efficiency and Quality: Increasing value-added time should not compromise product quality or customer satisfaction.


Value-Added Time is a critical concept in process improvement and Lean Management. By identifying and optimizing value-added activities, organizations can improve Efficiency, reduce Lead Times, and enhance customer satisfaction. Reducing non-value-added time (waste) is essential for achieving process excellence and maximizing customer value. Organizations should continuously analyze their processes to identify opportunities for improving value-added time and eliminating waste, leading to better overall performance and competitiveness.


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