The word "value chain" refers to all of the commercial activities and procedures that go into making a product or providing a service. A value chain can span various phases of a product's lifespan, from research and development through sales and all in between. Taking inventory of the operations that make up your company's value chain will give you a better understanding of what goes into each transaction. Your organization may be better positioned to share more value with consumers while capturing a larger portion of the value generated at each point in the chain by maximizing the value created at each point in the chain. Similarly, understanding how your company produces value may help you better appreciate its competitive edge.