Tag Archives: Objectives

Lean Tools Value Stream Maps – darronrobertsconsulting

Value Streams are all the actions, (value added and non-value added), currently required to bring a product or a service through the operation flows from the input, raw material, into the arms of the customer, finished goods or services.

Transfer these actions to a sheet of paper and you have a value stream map, a graphical representation of the operation. This is used to visualise the operation and get everyone in the company talking the same operations language.

In these days of technology, don’t be tempted to waste your time learning a software package to get a nice, neat and perfect electronic version.  Walk the value stream from the customer contact to the supplier contact.  When you understand the number of process steps you can start drawing the map on an A3 size sheet of paper with a pencil and ruler.  This is a living document and should be updated as necessary and displayed in a relevant place.

Walk through process of the value stream and collect as much data as you can from the process.  Do not rely on hearsay, or past reports, capture the process as it is today.  Data that you want to capture are cycle times, change over times, up times, defect rates, number of operators and anything pertinent to the process.  Current Value Stream MapYou also need to capture what happens between processes, how much work in process is there, how much waiting time and anything that is needed to get an understanding of what happens in the value stream.  Connect the process steps with connectors, push arrows, pull connectors or supermarkets.

The last part of the material flow is to draw in the delivery to the customer and the delivery of raw material to the company.  Use a pictogram of the delivery method, a truck, train or plane etc. How often you get deliveries and how often you deliver.

Now that the material flows have been mapped you can start on the information flows.  The material flows are anticlockwise from the top right of the map; the information flows are.  Draw in the communication from the customer to the company, the company to the supplier and the company to the process for planning.  Include how often the customers schedule is communicated; how often you communicate with your suppliers and how often you communicate with the processes, i.e. daily schedule.

The last step in drawing the map is to complete a timeline at the bottom.  Add up the time for all of the process steps and waiting time between the processes to find the total time taken to travel through value stream, this is the flow time.  Then add up all of the added value times, that is, process steps where you are changing the form, function or fit of the operation or service.

Congratulations, you have drawn a current value stream map, for one of your value streams.  Like all maps it is used to guide you on a journey.  Compare the total time or flow time with the value added time or touch time.  If the times are different and mostly they are vastly different, this is the starting point for the improvement journey.  Similarly compare the total number of process steps, with value adding steps.  Only the value adding steps or times are paid for by the customer, the company pays for the rest, reducing profits!

Develop an improvement plan to reduce waste through the value stream.  Use the lean tools 5S, 7 wastes, visual management / visual control and standardised work. Form kaizen teams to address the identified problems and create flow in the value stream.

This is a brief of how to create and use current value stream maps.  If you need more information, leave a comment or send me a message and we can discuss you needs.


Business Performance Management – Deployment – darronrobertsconsulting

When I was specifying a Management Consulting project about eighteen months ago, one of the topics that needed that need to be covered was Business Performance Management or Deployment of Objectives. I had worked with the company for a year and understood what they wanted. To grow, both organically by increasing sales of the current product families and to diversify their product portfolio.

I had planned to develop a typical Business Scorecard, encompassing the four different categories of business, Finance, Customers, People and Processes, with sixteen to twenty Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), split between the categories. Each of the KPIs would have an accountable owner and a responsible person for producing the monthly results.

The Reporting structure would have been developed, whereby each of the Business Functions would hold weekly Plan – Do – Review (PDR) meeting. The KPIs were to be broken down in to departmental measures and deployed through this Action meeting. The results would then be measured and displayed in their Visual Management area, with a simple Visual traffic light decal to quickly indicate the status. The monthly departmental report would have been written and sent to the company secretary to compile the agenda for the Monthly Management Meeting, (3M).

The 3M would be held at the same time, the same day and the same week of each month. The meeting would have been attended by Senior Managers and Department Managers. This would have been an action meeting whereby the Business Scorecard would have been discussed with actions required to bring the KPI back on target or actions required to take advantage of the better than target performance would have been taken outside of the meeting to be deployed. The meeting minutes would have been written and discussed at the next departmental PDR meeting.

What has happened in reality, here in the Middle East, is that we have had the Revolutions and an Arab Spring. The face of business has changed for the near future at least. All thoughts and plans for growth have been postponed, some indefinitely. There is an on-going pessimistic feeling which is adversely affecting business in some parts of the region.

The strategy is now for one of survival, of reducing costs and becoming very efficient, producing orders as quickly as possible and getting them to the customer ontime, to reduce the time of the cash flow cycle. Weekly and monthly meetings have become daily meetings, such is the necessity of the situation. Survival means becoming the best there is in a shrinking market and having enough funds to continue.

This illustrates that the Business Performance Management process is dynamic, both for business who have to change their Strategy quickly to survive and for the Management Consultants, like myself who have to be able to respond to the client’s needs and provide them with the Consulting Expertise to enable them to adapt to the situation.

The only positive to be taken out of this situation is that if the company survives, the actions taken will definitely make it stronger and it will be better prepared for business after this crisis has ended.