Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a process of directly analysing and documenting the flow of information and material in the current state to calculate both the value add and non-value add of a manufacturing product, distribution of goods or delivery of a service. VSM is a visual tool which clearly identifies areas of hidden waste within a process. A future state know as a Value Stream Design (VSD) is the redesign adjusted to represent a leaner process flow by directly eliminating the non-value adding steps with the goal of continuous flow or single-piece flow.
The Japanese term Kanban (translated to instruction card) also known as ‘Just in Time’ is a concept of pull systems which are designed to meet and respond to the demands of a customer. The essence of Kanban is that a business which could be a warehouse, manufacturer or even a service should only deliver its products and services as and when they are needed, so that there is no excess or waste.
The layout of a facility whether it be a production line, warehouse, office or emergency ward it is integral part of a Lean strategy. Process flow in any type of business is the heart of a Lean enterprise. A properly designed layout arranges flow patterns and process steps in a natural occurring order to minimise cycle time, space, travel distances and cross over points by modelling a continuous flow process with internal suppliers and customers close to each other. There are multiple levels in layout planning; a macro level would see the design of a site or building and on a micro scale would optimise a work cell or department area.
Metrics are commonly used in Lean Six Sigma projects to measure the outcomes of a process, identify opportunities for improvement and monitor variations. Metrics on quality, cost and delivery (QCD) assist businesses to pinpoint sources of waste, variability or customer dissatisfaction, and by focusing on them, business leaders have a superior capacity to find the root cause of problems and areas for improvement.
Capacity planning or Capacity Requirement Planning (CRP) is a process of determining the adequate volume of work for the number of human resources required to deliver high quality and on-time delivery of products and services. Capacity planning unlocks performance bottlenecks and allows an organisation to manage workloads which assists in one of the most common forms of waste, variation.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are a set of high level instructions explaining the best known process for carrying out activities to ensure consistency and quality within the organisation. Standardised work is a way of limiting process variation and keep consistency across all workers to achieve high quality outcomes and on time delivery.
Mistake Proofing or in Lean (Japanese) terms is called Poka Yoke which is the process of implementing systems or devices to reduce defects and strive for perfect quality. Poka yoke is an analytical element to Lean thinking. Simplifying processes and reducing errors which are associated waste and costs brings value to operations. The technique to error proofing a product or process is through a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) which roots out potential causes to consistent errors.
Sigma (the Greek letter σ) is a term in statistics that measures standard deviation. Pioneered by Motorola, Six-Sigma is a set of methods and tools designed to focus on the reduction of variation within any process to improve quality outputs. The methodology utilises statistical concepts to measure a process in terms of defects and achieving Six Sigma means that processes are delivering only 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO).
A Lean manufacturing method, Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) aims to increase production and reduces waste through a structured approach to equipment and machinery. TPM involves machine operators to undertake proactive and preventative maintenance checks on their equipment to produce operational efficiency by minimising machinery downtime.
A Kaizen (Japanese for improvement) Blitz is a practical and rapid improvement intended to produce results to isolated process issues within short time frame. A Kaizen Blitz uses a structured approach for teams to workshop and analyse a problem, develop a solution and carry out the improvement plan. This technique brings immediate and visible results to maintain team motivation and improve morale throughout your organisation’s continuous improvement strategy.
Quick Changeover (QCO) is based on the Lean manufacturing tool known as SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) which is designed to eliminate non-value added processes in the machine or production line setup and changeover from running one product to another. An efficient Quick Changeover strategy allows businesses to decrease their batch sizes and shorten lead times so customer demands are met without the expense of excess inventory.