image Avantage Categories Plug-in

The power of Categories

Wouldn't it be so useful to categorize your process activities?
Well, Avantage makes it easy to do this. You can completely define your own set of categories with as many attributes as you want. You can even define multiple sets and switch between them. It's then easy to associate process activities with a category. Here is one category set we made.

zoom categoires


Categories are very useful for process analysis, in particular to sort out which activities are:

◆ Value Adding        or
◆ Non-Value Adding.

What do we mean by these terms?

Value Adding

These are activities in a process which meet all the values needed by the customer without wasting any resources. We can can also think of value adding as any activity that makes a product more like what a customer is willing to pay for. Some analysts also group activities of direct benefit to the source company (as well as the customer) in this value adding category.

Non-Value Adding
Here we have the opposite situation - activities that do not add value to the external customer or company - any activity that does not make a product more like what a customer is willing to pay for.
A customer only wants to pay for value, and is not willing to pay for work that doesn't add value. This non-value added work (also called waste) must be eliminated as much as possible in any cost-efficiency drive. One major goal of any six sigma endeavor is to reduce any activity that does not add value.

Some typical non-value adding activities are:

  • Overproduction: producing more, sooner and faster than required by the next process
  • Excess transportation: any transport that adds cost but no value to the product
  • Excess inventory: this not only is a waste, but also creates waste
  • Excess processing: doing more work than necessary
  • Waiting: operator or machine idle time
  • Correction: repairs to products
  • Motion: walking or wasted motion to pick up things
  • Inefficiency: certain paper based or non-automated activities for example


How Avantage Categories can help

Avantage allows you to effectively categorize activities. We understand that many analysts have their own methodologies, so Avantage lets you choose your own categorization set.  We do of course provide a standard set for you as a base.

A Real Solution

Lets see how this looks in operation.

1. Defining Categories

There are just two simple screens to allow you to set up the categories.  Below you see how to define your set of columns attributes. The row items are added as in the screen shot above.


2. Using Categories

Now, in a process map you can easily click on any activity and assign it to a category type.
The colours are assigned as per your category set definition and you can optionally add a label before the caption. This is useful if you want do print out in monochrome and need some marker for each activity.



Avantage Categories Plug-in key features:

Multiple sets of categories

A project can have multiple sets of categories and you can switch between them at the process map level.


Time based unit costs, Wait time unit costs, Variable costs, Fixed Costs


Unit time, Wait time per activity unit or for the complete activity batch, Total time 

Colour coding

Internal and external volume per time period


A report output in Excel showing all costs for a process map including sub-process below the analysis point. Sub-process totals are rolled up with a drill down facility in the Excel sheet

Excel report

Initial flow volumes can be varied for "what-if" costing analysis

Excel Pivot table Category costing analysis