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1.2 Develop Current State VSM [LINKED]

Create a Current State Value Stream Map of the Material Management system. A view of the Current State of the Material Management System will provide a baseline for improvement. There is no need to develop the Future State yet.

The technique of Value Stream Mapping was described in the book Learning To See by Rother and Shook in the late 1990’s, and has become widely adapted in the world of Lean Manufacturing. You can learn a lot about this method by reading the book (it’s an easy read), and in the near future we’ll have a course on Value Stream Mapping here in the Lean Design Studio. For our purposed in the LINKED program it won’t be necessary to follow the precise methodology described by Rother and Shook. Instead it might be useful to think of the deliverable for this task as a Process Flow Diagram, or a simplified Value Stream Map.

The Process Flow Diagram (PFD) is used in Mixed Model Line Design, and when we document a work flow every individual product will have a PFD assigned to it that documents the work processes required to build the product. The format of a PFD is extremely simple: a Process Box (similar to the Process Boxes used in Value Stream Mapping) and arrows that document the sequence of the work flow. The deliverable for this task in the LINKED program is to deliver a Process Flow Diagram that documents the process flow for each distinct material flow. You may have, for example, some materials that are delivered in bulk, like fasteners. You may have others that are manufactured and delivered one at a time, like engine blocks. We would expect to see a PFD for each unique material delivery flow.

The starting point or first process for the PFD will be the identification of a demand for the material, usually triggered by a customer order or forecast. The ending point for the PFD will be the delivery of the material to the final Point of Use (POU). The term Point of Use is one we will be using often in this course and program, as each individual part will  almost certainly have more than one POU for the same item.

Start by identifying all of the unique material delivery flows. It is important to be as comprehensive as possible, since if we leave a material flow out of our analysis we may have gaps in our Mixed Model material delivery system. The flows can be documented initially using sticky notes and a Sharpie, but once they are agreed upon they can be added to the Excel Master Plan workbook, on as many individual worksheets as needed.

Final word of caution: The PFD documents should be a high-level description of the major steps in the Current State material delivery system. We want this task to be completed in a timely fashion, and if you attempt to be too detailed it could take a long time. Each Process Box should contain a short description of the process step. Don’t think that you are creating detailed Standard Operating Procedures! It should be possible to complete this task in an hour or two.