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Topic Title: Creating Current-State VSM in an Assembly Facility
Topic Summary: Value Stream Map
Created On: 01/16/2013 01:14 AM
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01/16/2013 09:25 AM
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RyanLindeman
Ryan Lindeman



I'm taking my first stab at creating a current-state VSM and I have run into some confusion early in the process. The current-state VSM is for an Assembly Facility. This facility manufactures respiratory mask for military. Currently the respiratory masks are manufactured in batch and pushed through the system.

As you might imagine the Top Assembly (finished product) is comprised of numerous sub-assemblies. Most (5 of 6) sub-assemblies are not dependant on each other and are processed in parallel. These sub-assemblies meet in the Top Assembly (finished product) work cell.

Ultimately the current-state VSM is five different sub-assemblies that are pushed into the work cell (via daily schedule) that produces the Top Assembly (finished product). Due to this current reality I am unsure how to draw the material flow for the value-stream.

I can't understand how I can draw the material flow across the page when in reality I think they should be drawn vertically (multiple flows that merge) as illustrated in "Learning to See" (Pg. 15). Am I on the right path? Or am I just missing something?
01/16/2013 10:12 AM
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Boeing_Lean
Ken Hunt



Ryan,

You can accomplish this by assigning "swim lanes" for your parallel processes. You can then show them feeding into your top assembly process.

One thing that got my attention right away was your statement about batching and push. Hopefully your future state map will show an assembly process that is a "pull" system with one piece flow.

Ken
01/17/2013 11:56 AM
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RyanLindeman
Ryan Lindeman



Ken,

Great suggestion; thank you for the response! The future-state shall be pull system with one piece flow. Some of the major obstacles the improvement team will have to overcome is eliminating off-line inspection and routing of sub-assemblies back to stock to maintain lot control. There is a lot of low hanging fruit that is not technically difficult to devise effective solution, but the real challenge is motivating people to change. However, a diverse cross-functional team has been established and there is strong commitment from upper management, so I believe the foundation for success is being laid.

Ryan
01/17/2013 01:53 PM
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Boeing_Lean
Ken Hunt



Ryan,

Sounds like you have the most important element in place, which is the strong committment from upper management. They need to be sure to go to the gemba on a frequent basis to tuly understand what is going on and to show their continued support.

Be patient with the motivation part. Once the team understands a) How their jobs become easier and b) The capacity that will be created to give them more opportunities to grow, they will quickly come around. And most importantly, they will learn and share ideas, which is what Lean is all about.

Good luck and keep me posted on your progress. Feel free to email me at Ken.L.Hunt@Boeing.com if you wish.

Ken
01/18/2013 09:55 AM
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AaronHunt
Aaron Hunt



Ryan,

When just starting out, you can also use inventory as your ally. Making improvements where there is sufficient inventory to bleed off allows you to refine the process and learn by doing without drawing excessive negative attention at first.

Every process improvement is different - do your VSM's, then pick the strategic improvements to start - it may not be wise to try to attack too much too early. Go for small wins that start driving the cultural change. Spend almost all your time on the floor with the team, helping them improve their work.

In my time at Sony, we only tackled big sweeping changes once per year - when we were slow. But almost every day we were making changes that improved a slower area of a process. Some days we would make a change and get through 3 or 4 PDCA cycles in a shift, trying to save 1-2% of our Cycle time or remove a few % of the variation between operators.

My point is this - a bunch of small changes can be easier and more effective, especially with a workforce that isn't fully supportive or engaged in the kaizen/lean/CI philosophy. As a plus, it usually serves to engage the workers faster too. But use your VSM as the roadmap.

I've also done "crisis intervention" mode, where we completely revamp every process flow in a facility in a few months - a major kaizen every other week, complete with immersive, applied training and engagement of every worker in the building in less than 3 months. But, we had 3 leaders that lived lean for years and also had just been given a business that was losing money every month. There was a good bit of voluntary turnover in this scenario as well, as people get scared by that much change that fast. But we felt we were heavy on labor by almost 50% - so it was a calculated risk. We lost very few of our best workers.

Go slow and steady if you can. It's a journey, not a race (except in few scenarios as noted above), right?

Aaron
01/18/2013 09:55 AM
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Robert_ELSE_Inc
Robert Drescher



Hi Ryan

Follow Kens advice on the use of swim lanes, it will ultimate help you get a good current state map.

Since you have upper management support you only need to get the backing of the lower levels. The key here is constant communication and listening to their comments and suggestions. The more you communicate with the people how the changes will effect them and the organization positively, the less resistance you will get, people want to do good work and they want to help keep their employer around. The simple act of steady two way communication with them will show that they are respected and will also show them that the changes are in everyones long-term best interest.

After all the goal for both the organization and for each worker is to be able to produce more with less effort and resources being expended.

Good Luck
Robert Drescher
ELSE Inc.
01/18/2013 03:15 PM
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RyanLindeman
Ryan Lindeman



Ken, Aaron & Robert,

Thank you for your comments and perspective. I have been is process management for 10 years and during this time I have learned the people aspect of change is always present and the most important element of change to manage. I have been fortunate enough to have worked at organizations which support Lean and Six Sigma (more heavily in Six Sigma) and during my time at those organizations have been challenged increasingly complex process improvement initiatives.
This however is my first time being tasked as the alpha site for organizational transformation. It humbles me to know that others have started from scratch (as I am) and been successful in the pursuit of changing culture and become a lean organization. I also have a deep appreciation for the energy, patience and commitment it takes to become a learning organization.

I look forward to this challenge and undoubtedly the probability of success will increase when like-minded people engage in sharing ideas. Thank you for sharing.

Ken,

Thank you for offering your email. I'd like to share with you our current-state VSM once all the required information has been gathered (and anyone else that would like to view it) and get pointers on how to improve. In the spirit of continuous improvement I am always open to suggestions.

At this point in time the product family has been defined and many hours have been spent in gemba observing the material flow. Now that we have a good grasp on the process flow the gears have been shifted to gathering process data. The current manufacturing operating system is not recording all the appropriate measures to create an effective and efficient compass for predicting customer satisfaction. Due to this, the team is currently selecting the required data to populate the process data box of each discrete processing center.

The next objective is to send out "travelers" with the work orders to generate the appropriate process data. While the process data is being generated the team shall quantify inventory and map the information flow. I estimate that we shall have rough draft of our current-state VSM in 2-3 weeks and at that point I will send it your way.

Ryan
07/17/2019 01:00 PM
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NikhilPal
Nikhil Pal



Hello Ken & Ryan, I am also facing the same challenge of mapping the current state of Complex assembly where I have more than 100 sub-assemblies built across different production area in parallel and later sent to the Main Assembly line, can you share how you have used Swimlane diagrams to map the Sub assy production?
In our case we see a lot of line down issues due to Sub Assemblies are not produced in time for the Main assy.

We're on a journey to map the entire the product, material and information flow for this value stream and transform this area in coming 6-8 months.

Nik
07/19/2019 10:25 AM
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Lean4mePls
Lisa Brant



Hi Rob and Ken
I am following this thread and have a question. How do you put a swim lane on a VSM I have put them in a process flow but not on an actual Map?
07/23/2019 09:30 PM
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Robert_Simonis
Robert Simonis



Swim lanes would be a great way to develop detail in your process flow diagram. Swim lanes are a version of a PFD, organized by area or department, or other criteria. It sounds like you are creating a PFD, not a VSM, so it should work well.
If you are trying to create a VSM, what pacing item or component are you following? A VSM does not show all the processes, it only shows the processes that your item goes through (that is one example of the difference between PFD and VSM).
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