Lean Roadmap Newsletter
Becoming a World Class Enterprise 
5th Edition
Free 2 Hour Seminar - Policy Deployment & Lean Implementation Planning
The Most Powerful Lean Activity Your Organization will ever Accomplish!
When: Thursday, May 14th from 9:00 - 11:00 am
Where: Candlewood Suites, Appleton, WI (Highway 41, exit 137 College Avenue, College Avenue West to 4525 W. College)
Free Continental Breakfast
Seats are Limited, Registration Required: Email kelly@wcmfg.com, or call 260-637-8064
Our discussion on "How to Get More Out of Your Lean Implementation" from edition #2 continues with:
1) Misusing Value Stream Mapping
2) Kanbans are Powerful! 

Misusing Value Stream Mapping

by Larry Rubrich 
Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is the only Lean tool that will not eliminate waste--its sole purpose is to help organizations identify the waste that is preventing them from reaching their organizational goals. Once the waste is identified, the appropriate waste elimination Lean tool can be pulled from the toolbox and deployed to eliminate the waste.
Value Stream Mapping creates a one page picture (although it may be a very large page and take up several walls in a training room) of a process, identifying all the steps, sequence, touches, and times. Some organizations start by mapping the "system cycle time"--from the time a customer requests a product or service to the time the customer receives a completed product or service. VSM is most effective at identifying how to improve system efficiency.
It should be noted that VSM is the most misused of all the Lean tools. Often maps are created with no specific organizational goal or improvement in mind other than to map a process. Since most organizations have hundreds of problems which can be revealed by the map--where do you start? It is recommended that the following four-step VSM process be used:
1)  Pick the product, product family, service, production, or organizational process to map (improve). An improvement goal(s) is required. The most meaningfull results are achieved when this goal is tied into the organizational goals.
2)  Create the "Current State" VSM (CSVSM).
3)  Create the "Future State" VSM (FSVSM). This map must meet the goal(s) established in #1 above.
4)  Develop an action plan (Kaizen newspaper) to make the FSVSM the new CSVSM (see figure below). 

Kaizen Newspaper

By creating Value Stream Maps, an organization begins to "see" the waste in the organization and can systematically attack the waste.
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Kanbans are Powerful! 

by Vince Fayad
Single piece continuous flow is the most effective and cost-efficient way to produce or process anything. It is what Lean is all about. However, we also realize that this is not always possible. There are steps within the process that run at dissimilar speeds. If the process steps or equipment speeds cannot be synchronized or changed, we need to inject a buffer inventory into the systems so as to simulate single piece continuous flow.
Kanbans are signals which automate the replenishment of materials and supplies from internal or external suppliers to the buffer inventories. Kanbans reduce outages and shortages of materials and supplies which improves customer service levels. Kanbans support "pull production" and continuous flow, since material is not produced at the supplier until a signal to replenish material is received from the customer. Using this approach, Kanbans will reduce overall inventory levels (30% reduction on average).
Note in the actual company results shown below, inventory was reduced by 27% and the customer order fulfillment rate improved by 14% in the 12 months following the start of the Lean implementation. Many organization believe higher inventory levels are required to maintain high fulfillment rates. Not true!   

Kanban Inventory Reduction

In a Lean world, we want a system that has one piece continuous flow. When we cannot have single piece continuous flow, work is pulled through the processes rather than push work through the processes. Work is pulled from a Kanban, whether it is material from a manufacturing Kanban or patient files from an office Kanban. The concept works everywhere.

Kanbans eliminate business waste by: 
  • Reducing raw material, work-in-process, and finished goods inventory
  • Eliminating overproduction
  • Reducing paperwork
  • Reducing materials and supplies shortages and outages 
While improving: 
  • Product flow
  • Product lead times
  • Cash flow
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Next Issue:

  • Measure Only Those Things You Wish to Improve (and Limit Those Measurements to Five) 
  • Combating "Can't"

Free 2 Hour Seminar  

The Most Powerful Lean Activity Your Organization will ever Accomplish!

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Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
2009 WCM Associates
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