Nowadays the focus lays mainly on the extra service that a company has to offer. Products are becoming less and less distinctive, but what is “extra service?” An interview with our colleague Jorg Eichhorn.

In fact, it is more and more about the added value that is experienced by the customer. You can think that you provide a lot of service, but if the customer does not experience it, it does not matter. In order to do this, we visualize the value stream with the customer at MCB. This is done by Value Stream Mapping (VSM).

What is Value Stream Mapping?

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a technique that is used within ‘lean working’. Here the ‘flow’ of the goods and information of a company is analyzed. This is visualized with a ‘Value Stream Map’. In this way insight is gained into the wastes within a certain process.

A Value Stream Map is the starting point of an improvement project. This clarifies all problems and challenges for everyone involved. By visualizing all challenges you create commitment and ownership within the entire organization.

How does MCB do this?

In many cases, the MCB account manager comes, with the client, to the conclusion that the process is not going well. This can have many causes: the information is not clear, stocks are too low or too high, quality is an issue, you name it.

Jorg Eichhorn is key account manager at MCB and member of the MCB Improvement team: “The most important thing during the Value Stream sessions is openness and the vulnerable attitude of both parties, both MCB and the customer. A Value Stream session simply consists of brainstorming. During this brainstorm session we talk with the customer and discuss each other’s problems. Because we make it visual, we come to a solution together. In short; by talking to each other and discussing each other’s problems, you will come to the solutions.

“In addition, it is important to pay attention to all disciplines within the company. Whether this is at the customer, supplier or internally in the organization. During the Value Stream sessions we also involve employees from different layers of the organization, so that it becomes an integral improvement session.”

How does the need for Value Stream Mapping arise?

“With many customers, the original approach was from a negative situation: complaints, irritations, annoyances. Within the company, everybody blames each other. Sometimes the cause of a problem lies in the customer’s warehouse or at the purchasing level at MCB.”

“At the moment that all wishes and requirements in the entire chain are not clear, it goes wrong. For example, the financial department of a customer always faced the problem that the invoice did not match with the purchase order. This caused a lot of annoyance within the company. In the end it turned out that MCB caused the problem partly because the quantity tolerances and weights were not matched. ”

“It is really about openness, transparency, understanding and trust. This was also the case in the above situation. A structural problem was identified. This problem was discussed, often involving all parties, from operational to strategic level. By drawing up a ‘value stream map’, we came to suitable solutions. So you can see, that giving insight into the total process is certainly a success. ”

“This also applies to another customer. One of our account managers noticed that there were towering pallets of material at the unloading location. A new director had just been hired by this customer, who immediately said: ‘We have to get rid of these large stocks, this only costs us money.’ This resulted in a conversation that resulted in a Value Stream Map. What turned out well; they already had a good working ERP system, but this was only used as administration. ”

“The conclusion from the Value Stream Map was that the customer had to do more with their ERP system. Through this whole process, a relationship of trust has been created between MCB and the customer. Thanks to this bond of trust, the customer is now working much more efficiently.”


MCB liefert bereits seit 75 Jahren Metall. MCB ist der Metallgroßhandel, der Ihr Business versteht.