What process improvements will be necessary?

Question #8:  What process improvements will be necessary for our future-state value stream to flow as designed?

Achieving the material and information flows we envision the following process improvements will be nessessary:

  • Reduction of changeover time and batch sizes at all precesses that feed supermarkets to allow faster response to downstream usage.  The goals are  “every part every day”  and then  “every part every shift” .
  • Elimination of any long time(s) required to change between part numbers at pacemaker processes, to make possible continuous flow and mixed production at pacemaker processes.
  • Improvement in on-demand uptime of resources.
  • Elimination of waste to reduce total work content with in work cells to meet or exceed takt time.
  • Identifying with a future-state map the areas where kaizen events need to occur.
  • The beauty of asking question #8 last is that our process-improvement efforts become subordinate to the overall value-stream design as opposed to vague, stand-alone improvement actives.   Team can now be dispatched to work on these process improvements with a clear understanding of why they are making these improvements.

    We must be sure to kick off these improvements projects by creating a “pull” of the improvement.  That is instead of  “pushing” a team.  Begin be stating that in 30 days the batch sizes on say the stamping press for example will be reduced to 300 & 160 pieces.  This creates a sense of urgency about making the process improvement.  Likewise we shouldn’t  simply send a team to eliminate changeover time and wait for them to be finished.  But rather begin by stating that in 14 days a particular area will be placed into continuous flow orientation.

    Summing Up

    With the shortened production lead time through the shop floor, the pacemaker process operating consistently to takt time, and fast response to problems,  we can comfortably reduce the amount of finished goods we hold.