Upstream Advisory I Performance

Process Design Thinking

Imagine the Future

Change Better. We support companies to structurally improve their business…

Facing multiple criseses our society at large and many industries are struggling. Mainly weakness in consumption demand shows that high and still increasing consumer prices are taking a heavy toll. In case of uneven customer demand, building finished goods supermarket helps to level the production volume. Based on our experience, we share how to use Process Design Thinking during the transformation from imagination to realisation

A practical goal is to achieve continuous flow, or to get as close as possible to it

How to use Process Design Thinking during the transformation from imagination to realisation, as follows :

(1) Produce to Takt Time

Balancing all Cycle Times (time it takes) to Takt Time (available time / demand) results in a "Just In Time" process design. Before redistributing work identify opportunities for quility improvements, waste reduction and improved safety. Please note takt time does not consider downtime, quality issues etc. 

(2) Go 2 Market Strategy

Use Build to Supermarket

- Uncertain suppliers

- Long lead times

- Several quality and downtime issues

- High runners and stable demand

- Require short respons time to purchase order

Build to Shipping

- longer response time to purchase order

- low demand from unknown customers

- use for unique orders

- when work processes are reliable

(3) Create Continuous Flow

Continues flow minimizes resources and lead time and encourages communication. This is an ideal state and should be the goal of all processes. The goal is to (a) reduce lead time, (b) reduce inventory and (c) reduce waste.

(4) FIFO

In case continuous flow is not possible the next best solution to connect processes is FIFO. Requirement is sufficient capabi,lity and stability of processes. Use FIFO to buffer flow and keep sequence.

(5) Use Supermarkets to control Production

Pull systems using Kanban control production between processes that can not be tied together in a continous flow. 

(6) Deciding on Pacemaker Location

The production schedule should sent to the pacemaker process only. All other processes should be controlled by Kanban. Changeover time should be minimum at the pacemaker process. Use SMED to reduce changeovers

(7) Level the Production Mix

Develop the ability to make every part every day or interval whichever is smaller. Compare the total time needed to the effective working time per interval. Any leftover time can be used for changeovers. 

(8) Release small, consistent amounts of work

(9) Improvements

Keep it manageable, breaking improvments into focused change loops. Provide a Target and timeframe. Undertake a dry run to test every improvement.

(10) Implementation Plan

- Start with the Pacemaker and work backwards

- Use 5S to clear the clouds and create stability

- Use standard way of working and document it to develop continuous flow within the process

- Implement fast changeovers

- Establish a pull system toward the customer first and thereafter to the supplier 

- Plan continuous improvement target only 1 or 2 per month

- Communicate the Implementation Plan using Tool A3


A picture says more than 1.000 words. A video is worth 30k pictures, but an experience is worth much more. In case you are interested in the combination of Design Thinking with Agile and Lean Six Sigma, see below.

…with our head in the sky and feet in the mud