Successfully Integrating Value Stream Mapping into Product Development

Whenever there is a new product or service being offered to customers, there is a new process and value stream. Value Streams include both non-value-added and value-added activities and are the actions required to create a product or service from raw material until it reaches the customer. Value Stream Maps are more detailed than process maps as they include details, such as, cycle time, changeover time, uptime, process activities, operator self-inspection notes and customer specifications.

To successfully integrate value stream mapping into product development you must first accurately gather, understand, and specify the value desired by the customer. Collect real time data of the actual pathways of material and information flow. You may have to conduct several walkthroughs, first to assess the entire value stream and then to gather more detailed information. The best course of action is to work backwards as this reduces the probability of missing an activity because it takes place more slowly, without jumps to conclusions of assuming you know what happens next.

It is wise to utilize a pencil, paper and stopwatch when creating a process map. Once you have completed the map, remove the waste. Let the requirements of the customer guide you in making value flow from the beginning to the end of the process. The three most critical KPIs in a value stream map are: cycle time, value creation time, and lead time.

Cycle time refers to the time it takes to complete the overall process. Value creation time is rarely equal to cycle time. It is the time it takes to complete those work activities that actually transform the product into what the customer wants. Lead time is the time it takes to move one piece, part, product or service all the way through the process. All this information should be captured on the value stream map. When the value stream is complete, it will help you identify wasteful activities and realize opportunities for improvement. After you have identified the areas that need improvement, create an improvement plan that clearly states what needs to be done and when, has clear and visual measurable goals and objectives, complete with checkpoints, deadlines, and clear responsibilities.

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M&A: The Process, Software and Tool Abyss

M&A: The Process, Software and Tool Abyss

Big-fish-eating-fish1   Here comes a merge! Essentially with a merge comes the dilemma of choosing the most effective process, software and tools used for daily business departmental functions. For example, it may be that the two companies use different accounting software, in turn, an assessment now has to be made whether to use one or the other or acquire another software that can handle the current business requirements. To streamline this process a team has to be assembled consisting of atleast 4 per department from each company (that is well versed in the processes and controls of the department). They can then create process maps (visual representations of a process that help identify non-value added activities) and share them with the merging team. With a merge follows new operational and strategic goals, therefore, by collaborating and sharing departmental process information decisions about which process, software or tool becomes much easier.

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