A Practical Guide to Value Stream Mapping - Part 5, with Full E-Book

Posted by Greg Thompson on May 3, 2019 8:57:14 AM

Current State vs. Future State VSM

Current State is intended to represent conditions that are present today. Not ideal conditions or how it is supposed to be, but as close to reality as possible. Future State should be your goal, your blueprint, your roadmap; this is your destination. It should be optimistic, but not unrealistic. We generally plan for a timeframe of 6 – 12 months to get to Future State. There are times an interim map is drawn, which I often call “Current State with kaizens.” Kaizen is the Japanese translation for ‘good change’. The interim map with the kaizens can be a bit messy, but it helps represent the transition from Current State to Future State. There are times when the Future State isn’t structurally different than the Current State, and the Future State is the Current State with kaizens.

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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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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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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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Work Analysis for Organizational Success

Posted by Simone Erskine on Mar 12, 2019 9:21:00 AM

 Guest post, written by Ron Jacobs, Human Resources Professor and Consultant.

This one-day workshop provides a practical introduction to job analysis and the skills to conduct the well-known technique called DACUM (Developing a Curriculum). DACUM has a long history of proven success in gathering information about what people do on their jobs, including the following:

  • Identifying employee selection criteria
  • Identifying current and future job requirements
  • Designing training programs
  • Supporting quality and safety programs
  • Developing work instruction documents
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Cybersecurity: It's Only One Piece of the Business Security Puzzle

Posted by John Remsey on Feb 25, 2019 9:42:00 AM

Cybersecurity continues to be a hot topic for manufacturers – and rightfully so! According to the State of Industrial Cybersecurity 2018 by Kaspersky, “Over three quarters of the companies surveyed state that it is very likely or at least quite likely to become a target of a cybersecurity attack in the operational technology and industrial cybersecurity space. Despite this, only 23% are compliant with minimal mandatory industry or government guidance and regulations around cybersecurity of industrial control systems.”

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Simplify Your Grease Lubrication Program

Posted by Emily Lee on Nov 28, 2018 2:17:33 PM

Shared by Adam McMurtrey, Industrial Field Engineer with ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Company.

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Achieve Significant Productivity in Manufacturing and Logistics with IoT: How the Chicago Connectory Supports Digital Journeys

Posted by Simone Erskine on Aug 28, 2018 1:55:00 PM

This article was written by René Bonse, The Chicago Connectory

The Internet of Things, or IoT, might be one of the most used “buzz” words in the business world nowadays; but how did it become so well-known and why is it so important? IoT refers to the use of sensors and information technology to develop a better understanding of our world and enable applications that improve people’s everyday lives, dramatically.

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