Value Added vs. Non-value added smartphone features from a consumer perspective.
In lean manufacturing, value-added features or activities are those that physically alter the character of the shape of an assembly or product. Non-value added features are those that do not change an assembly or product and are therefore referred to as waste. However, even this simple definition falls short in some areas such as precision machining and polishing of surfaces that will not be seen by the consumers or adding features to a product that are non-essential, and even most times, a nuisance as will be seen later in this paper. In this regard, changing the shape or character of a product is not an entirely efficient way of measuring value and thus activities and features are considered value added when they meet some explicit consumer requirements and are shown to be implemented economically (Earley, 2015).
With respect to the above definitions, the first Lean principle is to identify value according to customer perceptions such as:
What does the consumer really want?
What are they willing to pay for and at what price?
Offering features that the customer does not require explicitly is considered wasteful and often, consumers consider products to be value-added if they meet their cost, quality and product delivery requirements (Earley, 2015). For example, in terms of smartphone features, a survey by Strategy Analytics shows that customers mainly expect value-added features that improve on the camera and photo viewing experiences in smartphones as compared to other features (Wong, 2015). In this regard, some value and non-value added features of the LG G3, a high-end Android smartphone will be reviewed to expound further on the concept of value addition and waste.
The top value-added features of the LG G3 Android smartphone are:
A highly ergonomic and aesthetic design: The LG G3 has a curved design and back that fits comfortably into the palm. The metal finishing also gives the smartphone the aesthetic and elegant. This feature is value-added since it adds character to the product by giving it the characteristic refined look associated with high-end smartphones while still ensuring user comfort (LG, 2014).
High resolution Quad-HD (2K) display: The LG G3 has a 5.5 inch QHD (2K) high-definition (2560x1440 pixels) display which made it the first high-end smartphone in the industry to have such a quality screen. The viewing experience is, therefore, great for photos and videos. This feature is considered value-added since consumers are always looking for the best quality display in the market, and the LG G3 delivers this effortlessly (LG, 2014).
Laser Autofocus camera: This is perhaps the most value-added feature of the LG G3 since no other smartphone in the market had the feature when it was launched. This kind of laser autofocus is so premium that it is found in high-end professional cameras which make them achieve image focus in less time compared to other smartphone cameras. Additionally, the camera has a 13-megapixel resolution which helps deliver quality and professional images. As earlier mentioned, camera quality is one of the main value-added features demanded by consumers and thus the LG G3 laser autofocus is a highly value-added feature (LG, 2014).
Qualcomm Snapdragon™ Processor, 2GB/3GB RAM and 16/32GB RAM: The LG G3 boasts one of the most premium quad-core processors in the market, the Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 2.5 GHz by Qualcomm Corporation. This super-fast processor is backed by ample random access memory (RAM) of 2GB or 3GB, and 16GB/32GB internal memory respectively. These features are value-added since they are manufactured by industry leaders, and improve the overall performance of the phone thus giving the consumer a great overall experience while using the phone (LG, 2015).
The non-value added features of the LG G3 are few, and most can be disabled since they are software based. They include:
The LG G3 Knock-On feature turns the phone on in the pocket: The LG G3 has a Knock-On feature that allows users to tap the screen in a particular sequence to unlock the screen. However, this feature is still not well evolved and thus sometimes body movements while the phone is in the pocket will unlock the phone. However, this feature can be disabled in the phone settings. The feature is considered non-valued added since there are better ways to lock a phone using techniques such as pattern lock and password lock. The Knock-On feature is thus an unnecessary nuisance unless it is improved to only respond to finger tapping (Carlon, 2014).
Unnecessary applications (Bloatware): The LG G3 is a high-end smartphone with high-performance features but will mostly lag or overheat due to unnecessary background applications (bloatware) that hog hardware resources. These applications mainly from third parties such as carriers and partners, also clutter the interface and give the user a poor experience. Such applications include the Smart Bulletin and Smart Notice features that deliver tips and notices on how to use the phone and other information. The applications are considered non-value-added since they still run after the user has already familiarized himself with the phone’s workings thus leading to misuse of processor cycles and memory. They can be manually disabled in the phone settings, or the manufacturer could go ahead and enabled them for use when the phone is bought and used the first time (Raphael, 2014).
Wireless Charging: The LG G3 is known to support wireless charging and as such, it is expected that the feature is usable out-of-the-box. However, this feature requires users to purchase a special wireless charging case and charging unit to enable full wireless charging functionality. In this case, wireless charging is a non-value added feature from a cost perspective since the case already costs upwards of $60 above the phone price.
Lean culture implementation action items.
Essentially, a culture change in organizations is realized when people start behaving differently due to changes in the organizational climate. There are many models that assess the impact of the prevailing organizational climate on organizational change. In this regard, there are several practical action items to be undertaken when shaping organizational to support Lean (Hobbs, 2004). Seven of these action items are discussed below.
Gain awareness of the current culture: This involves beginning to notice the existing culture, observing how people express themselves, and how they respond to the success or failure. Attention should be focused particularly on shared values and team behavior.
Assess the current cultural aspects that are desirable and should be retained: This involve identifying aspects of the current culture that need to be kept, for example, motivated teams, flexible work practices, and commitments to ensuring customer satisfaction. Here the practices that need to be discarded are also considered, as well as those that are missing in the current culture.
Formulate the future culture ideal state: This action item involves visualizing the ideal culture. Considerations include the expected behavior of people after change and reactions to failure or obstacles. The vision needs to be refined until there is a clear picture of the desired organizational culture after the change (Hobbs, 2004).
Share the vision: This involves open communication and is to be done frequently and consistently. In this case, one should communicate the cultural vision in memos, emails, notice boards and briefings.
Align leaders: There is a need to align all leaders to conform to the future culture state by working together, learning and reflecting on the change progress.
Treat culture as an organizational strategy: Culture has a major impact on the performance of an organization and thus changing culture can also change the entire organization’s fortunes. In this case, culture change should be considered a concern by the senior management and should be regularly discussed.
Consistently update the culture: Culture takes quite some time to change and thus there is a need to celebrate small successes along the way to keep the teams going and well-motivated, and also reinforce desired behaviors. Another reason for consistently updating culture through change is to keep up with the operating environment and market (Hobbs, 2004).
Complexity as a waste in lean manufacturing and way of dealing with it.
Complexity in lean manufacturing leads to the addition of extra steps that are often unnecessary. Generally, it is assumed that each step in manufacturing is value-added thus leading to the assumption that too many processes are a waste and thus unnecessary. In a work environment, complexity is a common waste and is observed in the form of long chains of reviews and approvals before something gets done. Data re-entry, excessive reporting and creation of extra copies of documentation are also a key indicator of complexity as a waste. In this case, many approval steps are likely to be non-value added. However, it can be argued that complexity introduces measures of controlling quality, legal compliance, and fiscal responsibility but in the real sense, each of these processes and activities is considered wasteful. The streamlining and elimination of complexities that add no value can dramatically reduce costs and speed up operations (Epa.gov, 2015, LeanGenie.com, 2015).
The major impact of complexity as a waste is that it adds costs via increased expenditure on labor and materials needed to complete the extra steps in processing. On the other hand, each extra step in processing introduces the possibility of more errors. Complexity also leads to time wastage by slowing down processes and extending lead times due to the long wait times between each step. In work environments, processes that could have taken a few minutes to complete takes weeks and months to complete. Essentially, increased consolidation of a process leads to faster execution and completion with minimal errors (LeanGenie.com, 2015).
It is possible to reduce wastage due to complexity by eliminating the extra steps in performing a task. In most business set ups, experts will often overlook complexity as a waste, and thus it is necessary to challenge these assumptions to ensure successful lean implementation. The next step involves devising process consolidation techniques by combining essential operations into one bigger process. Value Stream Mapping can also be used to reduce waste by representing complex processes in high detailed diagrams containing batch quantities, execution times, and queuing times in each step. The Value Stream Map diagram helps identify activities that are costly in terms of lead-time increases and resource utilization. In office environments, Value Stream Maps will show that some tasks are resource intensive with little or no value added, and thus the need to discard them (LeanGenie.com, 2015).
Carlon, K. (2014). How to fix LG G3 problems the easy way - Android PIT. Android PIT. Retrieved 30 June 2015, from https://www.androidpit.com/how-to-fix-lg-g3-problems
Earley, T. (2015). Value Add vs. Non-Value Adding Processes. Lean Manufacturing Tools. Retrieved 30 June 2015, from http://leanmanufacturingtools.org/89/value-add-vs-non-value-adding-processes/
Epa.gov,. (2015). Types of Waste in Lean Production | Lean Thinking | Lean and the Environment | US EPA. Epa.gov. Retrieved 30 June 2015, from http://www.epa.gov/lean/environment/studies/types.htm
Hobbs, D. (2004). Lean manufacturing implementation. Boca Raton, Fla.: J. Ross Pub.
LeanGenie.com,. (2015). 7 Wastes: Processing. Leangenie.com. Retrieved 30 June 2015, from http://leangenie.com/7-wastes-processing/
LG,. (2015). LG G3 (D855) 32 GB - Latest Smartphone with QHD Display | LG Electronics In. Lg.com. Retrieved 30 June 2015, from http://www.lg.com/in/mobile-phones/lg-G3-D855-32-GB
Raphael, J. (2014). So long, software silliness! 7 quick tweaks to make the LG G3 better. Computerworld. Retrieved 30 June 2015, from http://www.computerworld.com/article/2476568/android/so-long-software-silliness-7-quick-tweaks-to-make-the-lg-g3-better.html
Wong, M. (2015). Consumers Expect Value-added Features to Improve Smartphone Camera Experiences. Strategyanalytics.com. Retrieved 30 June 2015, from https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/news/strategy-analytics-press-releases/strategy-analytics-press-release/2015/06/02/consumers-expect-value-added-features-to-improve-smartphone-camera-experiences#.VZUmAvmqqkq