What Is Move-Add-Change (MAC) 

Move-Add-Change (MAC) is a simple yet powerful framework that can help improve practically any process, system, product, service, or organization.

It provides a structured approach for identifying potential improvements by moving away wasteful elements, adding missing pieces, and changing outdated components.

MAC enables ongoing refinements through iterative application, allowing even mature processes to get better continuously.

Organizations often have established ways of doing things that worked well historically but may now contain inefficiencies or gaps. Processes that are unseen or untouched tend to degrade over time as conditions evolve.

MAC offers a methodology to shine a light on existing practices to spot enhancement opportunities. It can tackle minor fixes or major changes through a consistent framework.

At its core, MAC is built around eliminating waste, enhancing value, and optimizing workflow. It draws inspiration from various process excellence methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma but is simpler for everyday improvements.

MAC provides visibility into improvement opportunities and a model to systematically address them. When applied regularly, MAC can help achieve the next level of performance.

What is Move-Add-Change?

Move-Add-Change (MAC) involves three simple steps – Move, Add, and Change, which lend it the memorable acronym. Let’s examine what each of these entails:


This first step focuses on identifying and eliminating elements that are unnecessary, outdated, redundant, or not adding value.

It provides an opportunity to stop non-essential activities and streamline workflows. Key actions here include:

  • Reviewing all process steps and components to pinpoint waste. For example, reports nobody reads anymore, approval layers that are not needed, inspections that are overlapping, meetings without an agenda, etc.
  • Listing out all non-value-adding elements that can be stopped or removed from the system.
  • Assessing if any resources such as people, funds, equipment, etc. are being used sub-optimally or could be better utilized elsewhere.
  • Understanding the root causes of why useless components exist to prevent recurrence.
  • Confirming with stakeholders what can be moved away from.
  • Creating a plan to wind down or eliminate waste elements.


The next phase is to identify capabilities missing from the current state and fill those gaps.

This provides an opportunity to enhance value by plugging shortcomings. Typical actions include:

  • Analyzing process needs based on inputs, outputs, volume, variation, etc. to spot gaps. For instance, a booking process may need automation to handle spikes.
  • Benchmarking against other leading practices or processes to highlight missing elements. Like lack of customer feedback in a support process.
  • Getting team insights on limitations of current capabilities and ideas to address them. Such as adding predictive analytics to better estimate demand.
  • Assessing the latest methods, technologies, or tools that could be integrated to uplift. For example, adding machine learning to analyze data faster.
  • Compiling ideas and analyzing feasibility, effort, resources, etc. to define additions.
  • Building a case for proposed additions, securing budgets, and setting up implementation plans.


The last step focuses on optimizing parts of the process workflow, technology, layout, resources, etc. that can be improved.

This allows for enhancing effectiveness through modifications. Typical efforts include:

  • Mapping out existing workflows and procedures to identify constraints. Like bottlenecks in hand-off points between teams.
  • Leveraging process analysis tools like value stream mapping to highlight areas for refinement. Such as reducing process approval layers.
  • Optimizing layout for better flow of work and resources. For instance, changing the warehouse layout to improve picking.
  • Streamlining tasks or processes for greater efficiency. Like standardizing data entry to cut process time.
  • Modifying existing technology configuration for better performance. For example, tweaking machine settings to improve output.
  • Changing resources assigned such as tools, systems, equipment, etc. Say, deploying higher capacity machines.
  • Updating policies or procedures to support process improvement. Such as changing KPIs or compensation to shape behaviors.

Benefits of Move-Add-Change

Applying the MAC methodology offers several benefits:

  • Simplicity – MAC is easy to understand at a glance compared to complex methodologies. This makes it accessible even for non-experts.
  • Structured approach – The three-step sequence offers a logical flow to identify and address improvement opportunities in an organized way.
  • Holistic assessment – MAC provides a comprehensive lens by ensuring necessary subtractions, additions, and alterations are considered.
  • Built-in enhancement – The ADD element of MAC deliberately builds in enhancement rather than just elimination. This prevents inadvertent downstream gaps.
  • Low risk – MAC changes can start small and then scale, allowing gradual refinement. This reduces risk compared to overnight transformations.
  • Easy communication – The simple MOVE, ADD, CHANGE mantra can be readily explained to teams. This drives engagement and alignment.

When to Use Move-Add-Change?

MAC is extremely versatile and can be applied to a wide range of scenarios within an organization:

  • Existing Business Processes – From order to cash, procurement, HR, call center operations, project management, etc. MAC can help optimize workflows.
  • Products and Services – MAC can help enhance offering features, experiences, delivery, etc. based on user insights.
  • Policies and Procedures – MAC can help streamline outdated documents and plug gaps with new guidelines.
  • Layout and Floor Plans – MAC lens can help redesign facility layouts, offices, warehouses, etc. for better flow.
  • Production Lines – MAC can eliminate wasteful steps, add automation, and optimize production configurations.
  • IT Systems – MAC can help strip unused features, enhance capabilities, and alter configurations.
  • Organizational Structures – MAC can identify redundant layers, add missing skills, and alter reporting lines.

In essence, MAC can be applied to any function, process, system, facility, organization, etc. to improve effectiveness and efficiency on an ongoing basis.

Implementing Move-Add-Change

Here are some key steps for executing a MAC-driven transformation:

  • Define scope – Determine the scope and boundaries for the MAC exercise. This could be the entire organization, a business unit, a product line, an individual process, etc. Ensure stakeholder alignment on the focus area.
  • Set up team – Assemble a cross-functional team to conduct MAC assessment. Include process experts, improvement specialists, technology leaders, business analysts, etc.
  • Map current state – Develop an in-depth understanding of existing workflows, policies, systems, layouts, etc. related to the scope area. Document the current state.
  • Identify MOVE opportunities – Conduct brainstorming workshops, gemba walks, surveys, etc. to highlight non-value-adding activities within the scope to move away from.
  • Identify ADD opportunities – Discuss, analyze, and research gaps in the current state and elements that can be added to fill those gaps. Identify best practices to adopt.
  • Identify CHANGE opportunities – Pinpoint parts of processes, systems, policies, etc. within scope that could be improved by changing them.
  • Prioritize opportunities – Assess identified MOVE, ADD, and CHANGE opportunities on effort, cost, impact, feasibility, etc., and prioritize high-value ones.
  • Develop implementation plans – Define specific actions, owners, timelines, budgets, etc. to execute high-potential MOVE, ADD, and CHANGE opportunities.
  • Implement changes – Carry out implementation in a phased manner. Run pilot tests where needed. Review and refine changes based on results and feedback.
  • Scale adoption – Once vetted, expand implementation across the entire scope. Drive adoption through training, communications, incentivization, etc.
  • Review and repeat – Review outcomes periodically and repeat the MAC process regularly to drive the next level of enhancements.

Making MAC Successful

Here are some tips to drive the successful adoption of the MAC methodology:

  • Secure senior management sponsorship to provide necessary authority and resources.
  • Start with a pilot area first to demonstrate value before scaling MAC.
  • Focus initial MAC efforts on high pain points to showcase impact.
  • Involve process owners and users early to gain insights on MOVE, ADD, and CHANGE areas.
  • Develop metrics to track MOVE, ADD, and CHANGE impact, and review regularly.
  • Sustain momentum by celebrating MAC wins and communicating results.
  • Institute policies for periodic MAC assessments to embed it into culture.
  • Educate teams on MAC methodology through training and reference materials.

Applied diligently, Move-Add-Change can generate tremendous value.

It offers a simple but structured approach to keep enhancing processes, products, services, and organizations on an ongoing basis.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Ques 1: Does MAC replace or work with other methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma?

Ans: MAC complements other approaches well.

It can serve as a lightweight tool for daily improvements while methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma can drive more complex enhancements.

MAC provides tactical improvements, while others offer more robust strategic capabilities.

Ques 2: Is specialized training required to use MAC methodology?

Ans: MAC is simple and intuitive by design. While formal training helps, MAC can be applied through basic education on the technique.

Dedicated process excellence resources could further refine the MAC application.

Ques 3: What is better for improvements – large change programs or the MAC approach?

Ans: Large transformation programs help drive radical, multi-year enhancements. MAC provides an ongoing mechanism for continuous improvement.

Balancing major initiatives along with regular MAC improvements offers a comprehensive operating model.

Ques 4: How can MAC help improve mature processes that already work well?

Ans: Even established processes have waste or constraints. Periodic MAC assessments help spot emerging improvement needs unnoticed earlier.

MAC also allows the incorporation of new methods or technologies that were not feasible before.

Ques 5: Does MAC require major capital investments and infrastructure upgrades?

Ans: While some ADD opportunities may involve larger investments, many MAC improvements are process or technology optimizations achievable at low cost.

MAC aims for pragmatic enhancements aligned to current realities.

Ques 6: When assessing processes, how far back should go with MAC?

Ans: Focus MAC on processes, policies, and systems currently active. Going too far back may lead to reinvention rather than refinement. exceptions. MAC aims for pragmatic enhancements aligned to current realities.

Evelyn Brown
Evelyn Brown

Evelyn Brown is a knowledgeable and dedicated reviewer of business communication softwares. When she's not testing the latest platforms or providing in-depth analyses for his readers, you can find her playing guitar and hiking local trails.