According to Lean, value is defined by three concepts. First, it is something that the client wants or needs and is willing to pay for. If the client brings in a pet, but is not willing to pay for vaccinations, they are obviously not valuable to the client, at least at this time, and we certainly would not perform that service. Secondly, it must move the care process forward in some, in terms of comfort, diagnosis, treatment, or education -- working toward restoring or maintaining health and wellness. The pet presented for vaccinations must be moved towards a more healthy condition by actually vaccinating the animal. And, thirdly, it must be performed correctly the first time (quality). Giving the wrong vaccines or inappropriate vaccines is of no value. Especially, if we have to go back a second time and vaccinate with the appropriate vaccines.
If a step is not value, it is waste. Lean organizations are focused, ultimately, on adding value from the client's point of view. Improved efficiency, improved safety, reduced costs, better resource utilization, increased staff engagement, a culture of continuous improvement, and quality are all important aspects of Lean, but they are by-products of the methodologies Lean uses in order to provide value to the customer from the customer's point of view.
It’s important to note that adding value and being busy are not the same thing. Just because you are running around doing something, does not mean you are adding value. There is a lot of motion and activity involved in chaos, but the vast majority of it is not adding value to the patient or client.