Supporting A Client’s Lean Continuum with Value Stream Mapping

Daniel Penn - Article

April was a very busy month for Daniel Penn Associates. In late March, we performed a high level strategic analysis for a medical device manufacturer. The focus?  Identifying part families for focused improvement efforts. Value Stream Mapping events were then planned and executed for four key value streams.

Assessing the Situation

DPA’s senior consultant worked with the company’s internal continuous improvement manager to perform a Product Quantity (PQ) Analysis that assessed every product the company makes. Pivot charts were reviewed to determine the highest number of parts identified from both a volume and sales perspective.

From this high-level data, the team identified four product groups that have the highest impact to the business. The 80/20 rule (Identifying the top 20% of the parts that make up 80% of the volume) was then applied to each of the four product groups which were then further evaluated in a process matrix to identify part family groupings.

Value Stream Mapping Event

DPA’s senior consultant worked with the executive team to conduct a high level, overall value stream mapping event. The VSM, which incorporated data from the PQ analysis and process matrices, helped the team refine strategic plans for the business, then identify teams and a schedule for mapping events for each of the four identified product groups.

For each value stream map, six months of improvement activity was identified along with a detailed implementation plan.  To motivate and inspire the teams towards achieving their future states, each of the maps will be displayed with pride in each of the departments.

Value stream map - detailed implementation plan.

Improvements Identified

The executive team noticed high levels of batch and queue processing for each value stream; a high level of inventory was sitting idle between processes.  Each team brainstormed opportunities to create a continuous product flow within their department. They chose a pull system strategy – tied to lot size – that would best ensure the smooth flow to takt time across the value stream.

To create connected loops of continuous flow, a common starting lot size was set at takt time-designated pull intervals along the value stream.

Value stream map - continuous flow.

Final Benefits

Based on their re-configuration of value stream maps for the four product groups, the team calculated these current versus future state lead-time improvements:

  • Die Stamp (5000 pieces per lot):
    29% reduction (Current: 746 hrs, Future: 528 hrs)
  • Assembly 1 (1,000 pieces per lot):
    80% reduction (Current: 1373 hrs, Future: 278 hrs)
  • Assembly 2 (1,000 pieces per lot):
    90% reduction (Current: 3670 hrs, Future: 370 hrs)
  • Assembly 3 (500 pieces per lot):
    86% Reduction (Current: 991 hrs, Future: 136 hrs)

Improvement Never Stops

This company’s implementation plans will generate a lot of activity during the next six months. DPA will follow-up with this medical device manufacturer to support implementation as required.

DPA Lead Consultant and Lean Sensei Nicole Snurkowski applies her 25+ years experience in lean systems and aerospace manufacturing management to achieve consistent year over year improvements for clients in 3P, Value Stream Mapping, Kaizen events and Standard Work.


About the Author

Nicole N. Snurkowski, Lead Consultant, Lean Sensei
Nicole Snurkowski is a lead consultant and associate with more than 25 years experience in lean system management in the areas of aerospace development, manufacturing, operations and supply chain. She has achieved ACE certification and has taken clients to ACE Gold and Silver certification levels. As the Director of Manufacturing for an aerospace manufacturer, Nicole has led continuous improvement efforts in the areas of 3P, Value Stream Mapping, Kaizen events and Standard Work, achieving consistent year after year improvements of 23%. Read More >

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