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Topic Title: Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse
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Created On: 08/21/2007 11:46 AM
Linear : Threading
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 65781 - 08/21/2007 12:00 PM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 122032 - 08/24/2007 08:55 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 65781 - 08/24/2007 01:04 PM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - dreck - 08/24/2007 01:03 PM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 65781 - 08/24/2007 02:34 PM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 111011 - 08/06/2008 09:11 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 135189 - 08/13/2008 03:36 PM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 78231 - 10/02/2007 09:46 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - MarkRosenthal - 08/27/2007 10:14 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 65781 - 08/29/2007 09:41 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 57008 - 08/28/2007 08:53 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - teapot9893 - 11/02/2007 12:51 PM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 78231 - 11/26/2007 09:26 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 168266 - 01/07/2008 09:27 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 65781 - 01/08/2008 08:42 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 168266 - 01/09/2008 08:51 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - LeanBlackBelt - 06/17/2008 12:31 PM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - Joseph - 06/23/2008 08:31 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - 168266 - 06/26/2008 08:36 AM  
   Value Stream Mapping a Warehouse   - Swagg - 07/01/2008 12:02 PM  
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08/21/2007 12:00 PM
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65781
Dana Smith



I'm curious to know if anyone has value stream mapped a warehouse operation. If so, was the "Learning to See" approach used/modified? Any lessons learned or pitfalls to avoid?

Dana
08/24/2007 08:55 AM
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122032
Oscar Lopez



One piece of advise: Don't follow ISO or "official" standards strictly, in our experience as 3PL, best results come when you write from a white page map, what I mean is that we faced that warehousing operations are sometimes looked as consequence of other proceeses and not a value adding per sé. See as a big chance for waste removal understanding that warehouse operations is a process that "regulate" pace from supply to demand.
Enjoy the journey!
08/24/2007 01:04 PM
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65781
Dana Smith



Oscar,

Can you please expand on your idea of "regulating pace from supply to demand". My mental model has been that of a distribution center as a supermarket that provides a buffer between demand and supply. The idea of "pace" sounds like a Theory of Constraints idea (i.e. drumbeat). Am I way off base here?

Dana
08/24/2007 01:03 PM
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dreck
Brian Dreckshage



I find the a normal process flow map works better than VSM in a warehouse environment for identifying problems.

Leaning a warehouse is a bit different from leaning a production environment, aside from the obvious oxymoron the associated warehouse inventory imposes.

Most of the warehouses I work in are small and the crew does everything, on and off all day. In these environments, I concentrate on the storage techniques and applying some lean tools. If you have a crew of dedicated pickers, you can short interval schedule them based on pick cycle times and load. For more detail I will be presenting this topic at the 2007 APICS International meeting. The presentation will be available free to members after the meeting, and I cannot distribute this due to APICS copywrite restrictions.
08/24/2007 02:34 PM
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65781
Dana Smith



Brian,

Thanks for that feedback. We've had the debate about whether to use process mapping or VSM and decided on VSM because we need a high level exercise that will get managers all on the same page as to what improvement projects to pursue. Process mapping will then be used by the project teams to drill down to specific problems. Part of our logic is that going straight to process mapping would lead us to many smaller improvements when what we need is fewer, but more impactful large improvements. Probably, the real answer is a combination of both but as a starting point, we thought VSM was the way to go.

Needless to say, it is a journey. And VSM will just be a part of the journey.

I would be very interested in your presentation at APICS but not being a member, I'm not sure how to get it. Will you be able to share it after the conference?

Dana
08/06/2008 09:11 AM
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111011
Arry Kitting



Dear Dana,

We are starting our lean journey now. We tried to built the VSM for our Distribution Center (DC) process (from inbound to outbound).
The question I have is, what do you consider as value added activity (VA) and non-value added (NOVA) activity in your VSM?
In production, it is a bit easier since any transformation is the VA, movement is NOVA.

In DC, we move product, store product, do some admin works for inbound and outbound, which one of those you put as VA?
Is scanning pallets during receiving considered VA? Is printing Delivery document considered as VA?

Arry Kitting
08/13/2008 03:36 PM
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135189
Eeergf Dfbgfrb



All NOVA items should be consider according to your specific process; talking about a Warehouse, waste can include high movement from producst or people, ergonomic issues, standardization process (specially between shifts), effective layout planning including ABC concept, etc. Again this are just some examples and I strongly recommend you do VSM analysis, use the 7 waste identification and correlate it with your actual process. This will provide you a clear idea of what to improve. Also include your team (all of them) on the brainstorming, that way you can really preserve and improve any continuous improvement or lean idea.
10/02/2007 09:46 AM
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78231
Emilio Fiorani



I'm very interested at this discussion because I've tried to implement the lean concept into warehouse. I didn't start from VSM but to analise how we could improve the flow from goods receiving to replishment area.
the common waste findind are:
double movements;
control the components received;
not goods receivind standard.

In order to improve these issue, I've planned to introduce the supermarket where I would stock all components managing by hands; the heavy components will manage by forklift.

the second step would to introduce the water spider replishment system to improve the warehouse movements.

somebody of you had implemented this activities to understand which kind of problems I could have?
08/27/2007 10:14 AM
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MarkRosenthal
Mark Rosenthal



Take a look at the "Create Pull" chapter in Lean Thinking (Womak, Jones). It describes the evolution of a Toyota parts-supply warehouse and discusses how the work of picking parts was set to a takt time.

Once you have the basic intended rhythm established, then you launch your daily management assault on sources of variation.

On your value stream map, you still have to ask the fundamental questions first:
What VALUE does your operation create? A warehouse can have a couple of functions. It can allow a many-many relationship between source and destination (a cross dock does this), it can provide buffer from demand variation so the sourcing operation can remain level. Why does your warehouse exist? What is its context within the enterprise value stream?

Once you have the core value understood, then start looking for where, how you create that value on the shop floor. VSM's tend to emphasize the flow of material and information. I would take a good hard look at the flow of people in the system as well.
08/29/2007 09:41 AM
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65781
Dana Smith



Ahh. Now the "regulating pace" comment makes sense. Good ideas Mark. Thanks.
08/28/2007 08:53 AM
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57008
Dave Graham



I have used value stream mapping for warehouses. It works pretty well getting people focused on the process and the waste, manual decisions, number of touches along with the time it takes to process the material through the value stream. The only caution would be when developing the future state and how the pieces will be batched in the future state.

Also, once we identify areas for improvement, we develop a process flow diagram to develop the next level of detail.
Originally posted by: 65781

I'm curious to know if anyone has value stream mapped a warehouse operation. If so, was the "Learning to See" approach used/modified? Any lessons learned or pitfalls to avoid?



Dana
11/02/2007 12:51 PM
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teapot9893
Travis Lull



I have supervised two warehouses now that picked for a production environment, and have had mixed success with attempting to "lean" their processes. The key is to remember that excess movement is wasted time and energy. Make sure you examine all movement to minimize it, whether in pick, transfer, or put away. The best results I had were by using a scatter map of movements for particular picks, and grouping the ones that are mostly commonly picked together in one place. I tried reading VSM, but it didn't help much. It was a little "higher level" concept than we needed to apply.
11/26/2007 09:26 AM
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78231
Emilio Fiorani



Dear Travis,
what do you mean for particular picks?
Did you have implement same concept of levelling replishment?
I would try to prepare a kitting in warehouse because I would save space around the line reducing the space used from raw material.
what do you think?
01/07/2008 09:27 AM
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168266
Colin Burton



Hi, Interesting discussion.
I am currently process mapping our Distribution warehouse ( Independant distributor of IT components, 15000 skus). My focus is on the receipts side at present and I am about to do a VSM exercise.
My biggest concern is identifying "out of stock items" for priority putaway and accuracy of receipt and putaway, rather than Pace or Drumbeat.
As long as primary stock is in place it probably matters little if secondary buffer stock sits around for while before being located.
If the wrong stock gets located one receiving error can create many pick errors!
I am also looking hard at our reporting - it's spreadsheet city!
I am concerned that we routinely measure the wrong things. e.g Target operatives on how many items putaway per hour ( which encourages speed at expense of accurracy) instead of maybe using the number of floor denials or wrong item in location errors as the metric. We also insist on measuring individuals performance rather than just the team, which encourages individual behaviors such as cherry picking the easy jobs to "keep your stats up"!
Probably needs a management culture change before we really get anywhere!
colin
01/08/2008 08:42 AM
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65781
Dana Smith



Colin,

A couple of thoughts come to mind in reading your post.

First, we can probably all sympathize with the metrics driving the wrong behaviors. If accuracy is an issue, can you at least find a way to measure it (or estimate it) to get people's attention? Or, can you find rework loops (dealing with mis-located items) and highlight their cost? If "keeping the stats up" is driving a cherry picking behavior, I'd suggest you put in place a simple, visual queue of jobs and enforce that people have to take the next one in line. Team based incentives would be a nice solution but may take awhile to get to.

Second, management culture. It is crucial, but you also can't wait for it to magically change. Suggest you work on changing the culture and changing things at the floor level at the same time. Don't underestimate the impact your floor level efforts will have on changing management culture. When they can see the results at the same time they're hearing the words, the chances of making an impression are a lot higher.

Maybe this is all stuff you've heard before but hopefully there is a helpful nugget in there somewhere. . .

Good luck!
01/09/2008 08:51 AM
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168266
Colin Burton



Dana,
Thanks for your reply.
The main issue from a productivity point of view is location of stock in right place to maximise pick rates ( fastest moving stock in locations nearest picking conveyor) and there will always be a subjective element to the decision on where to locate an item when stock comes in. (Locations de-allocate when BOH nil, so we cant permanently assign a location to a specific SKU)

Looking for the re-work loop is fairly easy in terms of location errors, they show up as floor denials and errors.

I cant help thinking that if I identify a rework loop and say " hey, we did 52 stock relocations yesterday" by the end of the week there will be a new target in place of " 100 relocations per day"

Sorry, having a bad day and cynicism sneaking up on me!
06/17/2008 12:31 PM
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LeanBlackBelt
James Pacheco



Hi Colin,
I am checking to see what progress you have made in your endeavors. I have successfully mapped several distribution warehouses from VSM and 5S efforts. Let me know where you are at?

Jim
06/23/2008 08:31 AM
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Joseph
Joseph Wang



in the book of toyota lean practice have VSM example at warehouse
06/26/2008 08:36 AM
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168266
Colin Burton



Hi Jim,
Well I think I am making some progress. Initially I made myself pretty unpopular by challenging the existing departmental KPI's ( It seems to stand for Key PermenantlyUnbreakable Instructions!). I found a really clear example of two departments KPIs driving sub-optimised behavior and convinced the two department managers to let me do trial. So we have changed the layout of a part of the warehouse and direct the stock putaway by using some data analysis on run rates and volume, rather than leaving it to a subjective judgement by the putaway team and use the error rate floor denials as a metric.
Result: slower putaway by the team of 4 - improved pick rate by team of 40 pickers and lower "hot" replenishments of primary pick face.( also dealt with some H&S issues at the same time)

Have a number of other major targets but biggest frustration is lead time for any upgrades or changes to IT systems and approval of capital. e.g I want to introduce mobile printers on the receipts floor but whole wireless network needs upgrade first and we need a new server to map the (archaic) mainframe data to the printers.
Now I am at least being listened to, but changing the management culture is the biggest problem!
I am working on a presentation to try to convice the management team to impliment 5S, but need to make sure they understand that if we go for it it must be wholehearted and permanent committment, not just another "clean & tidy" initiative that lasts until the next manic month end.

Colin
07/01/2008 12:02 PM
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Swagg
George Swaggerty



Colin,

When I implemented 5s at our warehouse, we implemented in several steps and had great success.
Steps
1) Created a 5s Core team (1 person from each Business Unit)
2) Trained the core team (Videos, workouts)
3) Core team 5s a central location (we used the mailroom)
4) Presented Core teams results to Management and then entire warehouse
5) Presented the 5s system to All Hands (Overview)
6) Core team divided their departments into smaller areas (Section 1, 2, 3 etc...)
7) Each Core team member was responsible for training his or her department
8) Established a Monthly 5s Award (Assessment performed by Core Team)

We take a picture of the monthly winning area and present them with a 3'X4" poster to display in their area for the month; also, the team picture is in our monthly newsletter.

Management was not that thrilled with the concept of 5s at first, however when they saw the results and the involvement from everyone they now embrace it 100%.
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