A Practical Guide to Value Stream Mapping - Part 4 of 5

Posted by Greg Thompson on May 2, 2019 8:22:00 AM

Can I facilitate the VSM myself, or should I use an outside resource?

Short answer: Sure. You probably can facilitate it yourself; and should if you’re comfortable with it. VSM isn’t rocket science. But, depending on your level of experience with lean / VSM and company dynamics, there may be advantages to using an outside resource.

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Made in Chicago Featured Company: Industrial Modern Pattern & Mold

Posted by Marketing Support on May 1, 2019 2:05:00 PM

Industrial Modern Pattern & Mold has been on the forefront of rapid prototyping and tooling for over 45 years.  They have been using 3D printers since the technology has become commercially available, mastered the silicone tooling for cast urethane process, and competes with the largest players in the aluminum tooling for low-volume injection molding arena.  From 1 part to 100,000, IMPM is a true one-stop-shop as all operation are performed under the same roof.

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A Practical Guide to Value Stream Mapping - Part 3 of 5

Posted by Greg Thompson on May 1, 2019 8:06:00 AM

Suppliers and Customers

Most Value Stream Maps have multiple suppliers and customers. Some have several hundred. You generally can’t put them all on a map, so you want to focus on the most important few.

I once worked with an aerospace supplier who could count their customers on one hand; in this case they were included individually on the VSM. Sometimes the scope is such that we have a single, internal customer. Other times, we have many customers which can be represented as a generic “Customers” or perhaps we consider the Warehouse or Distributors to be the customer…or a combination of these.

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A Practical Guide to Value Stream Mapping - Part 2 of 5

Posted by Greg Thompson on Apr 30, 2019 8:39:02 AM

Where to start / Granularity

At what level should we map? I’ve done VSMs where an entire factory (a big one, making lawn tractors) was merely a box on the map. Our focus was on logistics and distribution- we included inventory, capacity, and setup time in the factory box, but that was about it. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve done VSMs for an Order Entry process. We got into much greater detail and discussed when/how credit approvals were done, etc. The level you go to really depends on your goals and scope of the VSM. If I were taking a first crack at VSM, I’d start door-to-door in a process, using major activities as my process boxes. If you find that one or more of these process boxes are real issues or need a better depth of understanding, you can complete a follow-up VSM on that process which includes more detail.

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A Practical Guide to Value Stream Mapping - Part 1 of 5

Posted by Greg Thompson on Apr 29, 2019 11:21:00 AM

I don’t claim to know everything about Value Stream Mapping (VSM). However, I have used VSM extensively over the past 15 years in many different industries and situations. I believe strongly in the value of the tool and want to share some of my experience with the intention of helping novice Continuous Improvement leaders head in the right direction with VSM.

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Team Spotlight - Scott Czysz

Posted by Simone Erskine on Apr 29, 2019 7:45:28 AM

With 32 years in the industry and 5 years at IMEC as a Technical Specialist, Scott Czysz (pronounced: chish) is utilizing his expertise in leading Lean Transformations to assist organizations in Illinois create competitive futures.

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Using Technology to Resolve Workforce Challenges

Posted by Simone Erskine on Apr 26, 2019 8:47:00 AM

We are all aware that technology is reshaping the economy – and now the workforce. It provides opportunities for companies to see their way through the ever-present workforce challenge - too many businesses cannot find the skilled workers they need, when they need them and where they need them.

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Made in Illinois Featured Company:  J-tec Industries

Posted by Marketing Support on Apr 24, 2019 2:05:00 PM

J-tec Industries, based in East Peoria, Illinois, is custom designer, fabricator and manufacturer of material handling equipment such as industrial carts, warehouse equipment, shipping racks and more. Their very own CarryMore system helps to eliminate or reduce fork trucks from being used as delivery vehicles in heavy traffic locations in these facilities.

J-tec takes pride in their expert design and engineering teams. They work closely with customers to understand their unique needs and provide innovative solutions.  By striving to exceed customer expectations, they provide the best customized solutions to support any production needs. J-tec currently serves a variety of international markets including Mexico, North America, Canada, Europe, U.A.E and more.

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Effective Communication: Listening

Posted by Mary Hallock on Apr 24, 2019 9:33:17 AM

Recently I’ve been doing some supervisory training focused on communication. When I ask supervisors about some of the problems they face “Communication” is nearly always raised as an issue. This seemingly simple response can lead to a quite complex topic. How exactly should we address improving communication?

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Getting Started with Design Thinking: 6 Design Thinking Mindsets & Practices for Beginners

Posted by Simone Erskine on Apr 22, 2019 2:56:08 PM

This is an original article written by Jon Berbaum, President of Highland Solutions.

As a business or technology leader, you’re probably aware of the supposed virtues of “design thinking” these days. In my unofficial metric, it may soon surpass “digital transformation” or even “agile transformation” as the business strategy du jour.

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