A value chain is the step-by-step order of operations a business uses to create a product or service, starting with raw materials and ending with delivery to the customer.
To get products into customers’ hands effectively, businesses need smooth operations and workflows that allow teams to add value to the production process. This kind of value chain enables businesses to categorize parts of their operations for efficiency and effectiveness.
Any given value chain involves specific operational steps, including managing the receipt of materials from outside vendors, transforming raw materials into products for sale, marketing products to particular audiences, delivering products to customers, and providing service and support to customers. Within each of these steps are multiple additional steps — such as maintaining vendor relationships and developing the right technologies — that help businesses operationalize and stay organized.
The core idea of a value chain is that every step of the workflow — and every vendor that contributes to each step — adds value to the process and product being created, delivering maximum value at the lowest cost and highest competitive advantage.