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Are you interested how to improve product flow and efficiency and eliminate waste? Get in touch with reality. Create self managing teams, improve work processes and implement a continuous improvement culture to serve your customers best.
A Value Stream Map helps to understand the flow of products and people through a process. It identifies key material and information flows. Most management teams assumptions about what is happening at the production line on a day-to-day basis do not align with reality of what is actually taking place.
A structured approach how to reveal reality and improve work processes is Value Stream Mapping
Define Work Process
Identify the end-to-end work process. The term value stream describes the set of steps from the start of value creation until the delivery of the value to the customer.
Assemble the cross functional team. Put together a team and select your members wisely. Empower them with learning and development (lean principles, 7 types of waste) to lead the change. Enable them to identify value added versus non value added activities, see below.
Create a current state of the work process with the team. This is typically called a "brown paper session" on a big wall with post its easily updated along the way. What is the current reality? Go look and see. Walk the process, follow a job through the process, collect the data (inventory, people, time) and face facts. Don't just believe what you're told. People tend to be optimistic and to guess if they don't know.
Create a future state of the work process. Shift focus from work being pushed in the pipeline to lean planning and work in progress control in order to actually complete projects.
Create an improvement plan and implement to achieve the future state. Create, select and implement the best solutions to pilot team(s) driven by methodology Plan -> Do -> Check -> Act -> Repeat. Are any obstacles hindering process? Use the theory of constraints (throughput, inventory, operational expense) to improve capacity at the bottleneck.
Implement and use visual management to monitor and control the improved work process. What are the lessons learned?
…with our head in the sky and feet in the mud