Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a common assessment tool in the world of Lean Manufacturing. The idea is straightforward: create a flow chart of the way things are today for a specific workflow, brainstorm and apply “lean thinking” to possible improvements and show what the Value Stream would look like if the improvement ideas were implemented. The first map is what is called the Current State, the improvement ideas are “Kaizen Bursts”, and the improved map is the Future State. What’s not to like?
The Lean Stabilization Audit measures your company's Lean maturity in three categories:
- Leadership and Culture
- Workforce Development
- Operational Excellence
If your company struggles in any of these three categories, it will be difficult for you to sustain Lean excellence. Click the button below to begin the Lean Stabilization Audit and find out where you might have room to improve!
Your product list is likely a table with a column for the product's part number and a column for the product's description. There will be a lot more data to be added to this table, so start thinking spreadsheet. You will be building a spreadsheet with the data necessary to calculate the number of resources for your line design. You just took the first steps.
The Kanban method was inspired by how American supermarkets managed their stock, with small amounts of product displayed on shelves, and turning that product quickly. Like the supermarket, the material Kanban method responds to actions taken by your customer, who could be an operator on the production line. Material will be replenished not based on a fixed schedule, but on actual usage or consumption. In that way the delivery system can respond to variation in usage dynamically and automatically, as the usage changes. The Kanban system is therefore highly “self-regulating”, within limits of course.
Flow is a further refinement on Pull, where you are moving units one at a time, based on customer orders, and also based on a Pull signal.
Let's go back to our sandwich making example, and look at an example of Flow.
A Value Adding task is one that advances the product. Value must always be understood from the Customer's perspective. Value is “in the eyes of the Customer”. Sometimes, a quick and dirty way to ascertain whether a task is a value-adding task is to ask: Is the customer willing to pay for this? If the answer is no, then it is not a value-adding task.