So simple yet nearly everyone without fail in the beginning of their Lean Manufacturing Journey ignores the beauty of a map. How do we get from here to there? Where is there? Why should we go there? Who is there? These are often things one either thinks about or discusses with others. If you have ever been to a “learn to write or learn to speak” workshop, it is likely you have heard, “just jump in and do it” practice, practice, practice!
Well, of course we all know that! Right!?
Lean Manufacturing is all about “learning to see”. You must learn to see things from your customer’s point of view full circle. From the time they place the order to the time they receive the delivery. What is done? How long does it take? Who does it? Why do we follow these steps? What equipment do we use? Do we buy anything? What is the lead time? You probably have all of this in your head. Does everyone in the organization have it in theirs? Should they?
Give it some thought. The Value Stream Map is the way to see. What do you do to add value for the customer? What does not add value?
It seems simple yet most of us never look at the map before we take-off. Nothing wrong with that, it just takes longer and this means more time and money. That is never a good thing for your business and that is never a good thing for your customer.
Next time I will talk about the mapping process.