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A Fool-Proof Formula For Value Stream Mapping

Posted by Brooke Barone on May 1, 2013 1:30:00 PM

Around now for over 10 years, Lean Manufacturing has proven to be an essential tool. The concept is black and white: eliminate waste to improve the overall value.

Makes sense, right? So, how does one go about doing this? The answer: Value Stream Mapping.

A Value Stream Map identifies waste within and between processes, and then determines a plan for finding the bottleneck areas to eliminate them. It also can help to control inputs and monitor outputs.

So what is Value Stream Mapping?

Instead of just “guestimating” what areas are not working, a Value Stream Map lets you see the process from a bird’s eye view. It visually shows each step in each process and then how it is communicated. It allows you to prioritize which key areas or initiatives need to be addressed first, and also lets you set goals to reach. Once you do this, you find where waste is created.

Value Stream Mapping looks at the material and information flow within that value stream. It also looks at the steps within the scope of the operations. Once that initial stream is created, data is then gathered for each process step.  Data such as:

  • Value Added Time
  • Downtime
  • Right the First Time
  • Cycle Time, etc. 

This data is then evaluated for waste reduction/elimination opportunities. Once those opportunities are recognized and prioritized, the process of developing a Future State Map needs to be created. 

The future state should be a working document, something that is easily reviewed, improved and used on a regular basis (perhaps weekly). During this review process, the Future State is always changing-creating more opportunities. This is not a document that you file away.

Value Stream Mapping

How to Implement a Value Stream Map:

  • Identify the product
  • Construct a value stream map of what’s happening currently on the shop floor- procedures, delays, production flow, etc.
  • Assess the current state value stream map
  • Draw a future state map
  • Work towards future map

Understanding Value Stream Map:

  • Create a list of products
  • Group them into families
  • Determine each product to be considered primary
  • Document the steps of the process

Lean isn’t just a hunt to find where waste is occurring, but it’s also used to prevent waste before it ever arises by implementing the principles and adding value to your process.

5 Main Principles of Lean Manufacturing:

1.)    Define values perceived by the customer

2.)    Identify the value stream

3.)    Make the Value Stream Flow

4.)    Flow at the pull of the customer

5.)    Strive for perfection

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Tags: lean manufacturing, Value Stream Map, Lean culture, Future State Map

LEAN: How to Achieve Success Using 6S

Posted by Brooke Barone on Jan 8, 2013 3:45:00 PM

Every manufacturer wants their product to be at the world-class level, but the question is “Can you compete at that level?”

Lean Manufacturing has been around for some time now, and has become an essential tool, especially for production facilities. Introducing Lean Manufacturing can significantly reduce waste and enhance quality and delivery.

So how can you bring the best value to your customers?

From our experience, the 6S System has been the foundation for all other Lean activities. Once the problems have been identified and a solution has been formulated, then the next step is to create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in order to sustain an organized and functional area.

*An operation must develop an organized work place with standard operating procedures in order to feed its continuous improvement culture. 

6s model

The 6S System:

1.)    Safety - Develop and implement JSAs for all of the processes involved in operation

2.)    Sort - Keep what is needed and systematically  remove what is not

3.)    Set to order – a place for everything and everything kept in its place when not in use

4.)    Shine -  clean the equipment or area to keep in “new” condition, and inspect the equipment for repairs during the process

5.)    Standardize- Develop processes that maintain the first 4 S 

6.)    Sustain – Develop processes that motivates employees to maintain the procedures.  Also involves creating audits, SOPs and other tools to check for progress and maintenance of the standards.

Implementing the 6S system can be difficult because many companies are set in their ways, but if you keep up with the process, over time the culture will progressively evolve.

Follow these seven steps to discover the problem areas and solutions. 

First, identify the areas that need attention and improvement and then outline the concerns and the solutions.

Second, form a diverse core team. You’ll want someone who is familiar with the machines, someone from outside who can look on with fresh eyes and someone who can facilitate and make decisions.

Third, choose a strategic location. If this is the first time, choose a location with obvious problems that you know you can have success with.

Fourth, identify the problem and describe it in a problem statement.

Fifth, conduct an audit or scan of the selected area.

Sixth, photograph or video major problem areas.

Seventh, assign action to team members.

Once the area is organized and running efficiently, this is where developing an SOP comes into play, as well as work instructions. Work instructions are typically one page and are a supplement document to SOPs. They explain several steps such as how to start up the machine, operate it properly and what to do if there are problems.

The benefit of developing an SOP is that, regardless who the operator is, the product is still being produced the same way each time. This not only finds the areas that are insufficient, but adds value and quality to the final product.

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Tags: lean manufacturing, quality, Lean culture, 6S System, reduce waste, Standard Operating Procedures, SOP, Lean, 6S

How to Use Lean Manufacturing to Increase Production

Posted by Brooke Barone on Nov 6, 2012 8:21:00 AM

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could eliminate all of our problems so that life would be much easier?

Well, I’m sorry to say that probably won’t happen…but there are ways to help solve some of the glaring issues so that life, or businesses, could run more efficiently.

Although the concept of Lean Manufacturing seems easy, eliminate waste to improve the overall value, implementing it takes focus, teamwork and diligence. The idea behind Lean Manufacturing is to streamline your production by reducing defects throughout the process. It’s a production practice that focuses on continuous improvement to achieve the highest throughput using the least amount of inventory. Ultimately by doing this, the quality and value will increase.

Lean is a set of philosophies, tools or techniques that improve production flow.

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Reducing defects can be eliminating redundant processes, wasted time or improving bottleneck areas. The main goal behind Lean Manufacturing is to maximize customer value by minimizing waste. This can be the quality of the product, but also the quality of employees and working environments.

There are four components that make up the Lean framework:

1.) Lean Culture          2.) Lean Concepts

3.) Lean Planning         4.) Lean Tools

One of the tremendous benefits of developing a Lean Culture is the level of communication that opens up within a company. By communicating issues or concerns, and putting them all out on the table, everyone is on the same page. It also helps to take some of the friction out between groups. Everyone focuses as a team.

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Lean Manufacturing is designed to empower the workers since they are the ones who work day-in and day-out on the equipment and have a better understanding of what might work better.

Lean Process Improvement Meetings are also beneficial because employees can discuss which methods were successful verses those that were not. By including employees in this problem-solving process, they become invested in the outcome because it’s their ideas. Information and data should be organized and can be placed in graph, chart or paragraph form to visibly show progress or areas that need improvement.

Benefits of implementing a Lean Culture:

  • Employee Development
  • Identify leaders that might not have stuck out before
  • Employees/Leaders rally their teams around the objective
  • Employees take ownership
  • Employees know their roles
  • Daily accountability
  • Initiates positive changes in the working environment

Here’s a little advice to get employees energized and ready for the day!

Start each morning off by...

  • Employees form a circle
  • Manager/leader walks around to shake each person’s hand and engage with them
  • Warm-up by stretching
  • Discuss safety issues
  • Open the floor for discussion

Employees should be encouraged to bring up any issues or concerns they might have in order to solve them as a group. Open-floor means they are free to voice their thoughts without being penalized.

During these meetings, employees can discover ways to work smarter, how to improve safety measures during production or even which snacks they prefer in the vending machines. All of these issues, big or small, matter.

One thing to understand about the Lean process is that it is continuous; there is always room for improvement. 

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Tags: lean manufacturing, Lean culture, lean process, employees, lean tools

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