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Is Your Value Stream Mature Enough to Improve It?

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A field in bloom

In a previous article I presented the concept of the "Process Maturity Model" that we have been using in our consulting practice. What about when you string a group of processes together in the creation of a Value Stream Map? Is there a way to measure the overall maturity of the entire Value Stream? Glad you asked. What if, for the sake of discussion, all of the processes on a Value Stream Map are at a high level of maturity, according to the Process Maturity Model? Does this mean that the Value Stream itself is at a high level of maturity as well? The answer is no

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Can You Improve An Immature Process?

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Value Stream Mapping Potential Savings

Can You Improve An Immature Process?

Yes, of course, but how you go about it can make a huge difference. Here is the catch: attempting to "Kaizen" an immature process leads to seemingly quick benefits but very low sustainability. Until a process is stable, even if there remain great opportunities for future improvement, any changes made to the process are unlikely to stick. Come back a few months (or sometimes a few weeks!) later and your improvements most likely have disappeared.

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Creating A Lean Sequence

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Sequencing Rules

We are big fans of Simulation Modeling for lean designs, especially now that it is a lot easier to build models with tools like the Lean Design Simulator. We’re not alone…I heard from a simulation industry insider that Toyota has embraced modeling in a big way in the last few years.

Remember that your goal is to deliver a Value Stream design that is extraordinarily lean to begin with, and one that does not require a lot of Kaizen tweaking afterwards.

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Choosing A Lean Shift Strategy

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The balance between the number of shifts in your line design comes down to resource utilization versus operations costs. In a One-Shift scenario the fixed asset utilization is the lowest. Only 1/3 of the capacity of the fixed assets are being utilized. For 2/3s of the day, they sit idle. A one-shift line design requires more floor space than any of the alternatives. On the plus side, you would normally find most support activities available during the first shift. Plus, working only one shift allows for the most additional capacity for growth. A one-shift line design tends to be the preferred path for high growth industries or factories with low fixed asset investment.

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