This model for streamlining the manufacturing process was designed by Michael Porter in 1983 to measure competitive advantage. Since it is obviously impossible to take a measure of this advantage by looking at the business as a whole, this invasive model looks at the many discreet activities a firm performs in designing, producing, marketing, delivering and supporting its product.
There is a set framework for the evaluation process that examines how businesses receive raw materials as input, add value to the raw materials through their own various processes, and sell finished products to customers.
The goal is to deliver maximum value for the least possible total cost. Especially important for western businesses in the last 20 years as much of the manufacturing moves across to the Asia, but is often ignored by the business while they are successful.