Everything is production, really

Photo by Arseny Togulev on Unsplash

If I should summarize my work life so far, the common denominator for everything I have been in, made, or contributed to is

Production

How can that be?

It might sound far fetched, but I can (actually) argue for this. If we look at value creation which could be another term to compete with production, I see that the process (or processes) that we draw to describe flow of value are similar – so similar so it’s more of a matter of self-identification that make you feel what sort of work you do – though I would say that you produce something in any case, because production without creation of value is non-existent (though some organizations surely do it, unfortunately).

I will put up some theses to prove my point:

1. Input and output (or outcome if you prefer to look at the bigger picture simultaneously)

When we produce stuff, for instance in different industries, we need to put in raw material, instructions for how to treat these, and specifications for how we want the end result to look like.

Value creation is more geared towards input of for instance customer needs, which isn’t necessarily tangible as some sort of hardware items – it could be totally immaterial. But there is an uncountable amount of needs through history that is fulfilled with some sort of tangible item.

2. Resource assessment

Both value creation and “pure production” can’t be performed without resources. The resources can be human’s time and skills, an AI prompt, machines and tools along a production line, software tools and platforms, code languages and so forth.
Regardless of what you are about to accomplish, you need to assess what resources you need, how many you need (if the resource type is limited in it’s output per resource) and what pace you can expect from the setup you are planning.

The exact same type of preparation is fundamental for creating value (though you rather shy for these dry and boring realities in the value creation context because value creation is something totally different and much more coomplicateed…)

3. Manage and control (or orchestration and follow-up if you prefer)

For production in the industry there is a lot of different and established, often branch-specific frameworks that is implemented quite well and also well taken care of, since product certifications, branch standards, CE markings and regulations require this.

In the value creation realm things can be much less specified, depending on what type of business you’re in. It can of course be weighed down by really tough regulations and branch-specific requirements, whereas the value creation becomes constrained due to the circumstances and hopefully evaluated with that in mind.

Finally

To conclude this we can quite clearly see that value creation and production is just about same thing, different name.

BUT – the value creation as a term always contains production, since folks working with production too often just see their own discipline as the almighty thing to do, where the need for customer focus, understanding and orientation etc, is overlooked.
In these cases, there are a number of process owners and managers and so forth who constantly run around the production team and maintain customer focus for the ones refusing to adapt customer focus themselves. To defend the staff, many hardware work steps can be quite abstract to directly connect to a customer value, though they are unavoidably interconnected with an end result, which also is – an outcome.

In for instance software businesses or IT-organizations on the other hand, we tend to push customer awareness and the need for creating customer values, not only outputs, onto the teams and resources directly. This is of course necessary and in fact fundamental in times of fierce competition and ever-evolving rapid development.
The problem is that there are so many tasks necessary to perform, which are more of output nature and doesn’t fit in the outcome bubble since they are just secondary and more of enabling characteristics than direct wo-ho effects for the end user.
Yet a lot, if not the most, in the immaterial producing business is about the same repetitive tasks that need to be performed, over and over again, without deviations – just like in any sort of industry… at least when we are looking at operations, which most often is overlooked since development is so much more fun to discuss.

Meta-reflections:

If we regard production as a subordinated process residing within a value creation – value, framework, wrapping, don’t really know what to call this entity – then marketing and sales also are subordinated processes residing alongside the production process. These are kind of production processes as well, where marketing’s output should be an irresistible urge to buy, and sales refines interested, so called prospects or leads, into buying customers.

And existing or won customers are in turn refined to come into retention state – room for another production process… is this maybe called CRM…?


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