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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Lean Tips Edition #128 (1916-1930)

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #1916 - A little Humility Goes a Long Way.
There’s a difference between a leader and a boss. While both are in charge, a leader shares the spotlight and is comfortable crediting others. While it might seem counterintuitive, being humble takes more confidence than basking in glory. Your employees will appreciate it, and your clients will, too.

Lean Tip #1917 - Communicate Effectively.
Effective communication is imperative, both in the office and in life. Great leaders make sure they are heard and understood, but they also know the importance of listening. Communication is a two-way street, and making the most of it will have your company zooming forward instead of pumping the breaks.

Lean Tip #1918 - Never Stop Improving.
Great leaders -- indeed, great people -- are constantly learning and always trying to improve themselves. There’s always something that you can work on or a new skill to master. Be sure to keep your mind open to new ideas and possibilities.

Lean Tip #1919 - Leverage Your Own Experiences.
A great way to approach management is to think about your own experiences. Which previous bosses, teachers, or leaders have you respected, learned from, and enjoyed working with? What did they do to make you feel this way? It’s also helpful to think back to your not-so-great experiences with former managers. What did they do that drove you nuts (or made you quit)? Make sure to avoid the things you hated and do the things you appreciated.

Lean Tip #1920 - Remove Roadblocks.
It’s important to set your staff up to succeed — and that includes removing roadblocks whenever possible. Regularly ask people what they need to do their jobs better or more efficiently. Maybe it’s adjusting priorities or allocating more resources. Removing roadblocks tells your employees that you care about making their work experience the best it can be.

Lean Tip #1921 -  VSM: Use a Team to Create the Maps and a Plan
Having one person create the map means you used only one brain and two hands. The information gathered may be biased or, even worse, incorrect. Decisions need to be made for what is best for the entire value stream, and that’s hard to do with only one person. Make sure you use a good cross-functional team to walk the shop floor, analyze part flow, gather the information, and then draw the map.

Ideally, someone with experience in VSM should lead the initial meetings. A person who has drawn several maps can help determine the process families with the team, teach the team the correct way to collect data and information, show how to draw the maps, coach toward a better future state, and facilitate a successful event.

Lean Tip #1922 – VSM: Start With Basic Building Blocks
If you’re trying to create a manufacturing cell when basic concepts such as 5S, standard work, or teamwork are not even present in an organization, good luck. I’m not saying that you can’t jump to a more complex technique or practice right away, but you will have a higher probability for success if you have a start on the basic concepts. This also goes for lean concepts like pull systems and kanban as well as total productive maintenance. Start with some of the basic principles and tools first before you try to implement something more complex.

Lean Tip #1923 – VSM: Draw It by Hand First
Some VSM software programs help you draw maps and perform many data manipulations. In my opinion, you should learn to draw it by hand first, because it will help you better understand the methodology. By putting pencil to paper, you emerge yourself in the mapping process, and that’s how it becomes real. Yes, it may seem like a struggle at first, but with practice it becomes easier. The day you can grab a piece of paper, start discussing a problem with a colleague, and draw a map is the day you really start to understand the power of VSM.

Also, maps should be temporary. Once you reach your future state, that becomes the current state and you repeat the process of continuous improvement. Paper and pencil allow you to update maps easily, with no overprocessing waste.

Lean Tip #1924 - Limit the Number of Process Boxes
When you create your process family matrix, try to keep it at the appropriate level or scope. Limit the VSM to between 10 and 15 steps. Detailing more than 15 steps may make it too complicated.

VSM is scalable, so one process of your door-to-door map (showing everything from the initial order through shipping and receiving payment for that order) still should have only 10 to 15 steps. One of those steps may be “fabricating.” This can be broken up into another departmental-level map that also may have10 to 15 steps: laser cutting, bending, hardware, welding, and so forth. If a map has more than 15 steps, you might want to consider combining steps and renaming the process.

Lean Tip #1925 - Don’t Expect Everything to Show up on the Map
Even though the maps will give you great information and insights for improvement, they typically do not have other enterprise wide initiatives that an organization should undertake during its lean journey, such as 5S workplace organization and standardization. A company needs to have 5S everywhere, and VSMs may show only an area or process that needs 5S, not the entire facility. Also, other important functions like communication and training do not usually show up as an action item on a VSM, but these functions are extremely important while implementing lean concepts.

Lean Tip #1926 – VSM: Eliminate Waste, Don’t Create It
When it comes to VSM, people often become so enamored with their own bureaucracy or analysis that they are just wasting valuable resources, especially time. I’m talking about the people who spend too much time making fancy graphs from the data that was collected, or the ones that want to get the data down to the one-hundredth decimal point. Remember what you are trying to do here: eliminate waste, not create more.

Lean Tip #1927 – VSM: Post Maps Where People Will See Them
Don’t hide your maps. A key benefit of displaying your value stream maps is to communicate what is going to happen at your organization over the next few months or during the next year. Many people resist change because they fear the unknown. Posting the maps with the plan removes or eliminates this fear. It’s also a way to start discussions and obtain buy-in and ideas for improvement. Don’t hide your maps; be proud of them!

Lean Tip #1928 - Be Clear About Scope--And Don’t Creep!
We all want to end world hunger and achieve world peace—but without focus, we won’t achieve anything. Most high-level value streams are really more like value rivers. Sorting out which are the major contributing streams and identifying those that need to be improved to impact organizational performance increases the value of your mapping and improvement efforts. And determining up front where the value stream starts and stops and what is in scope and out of scope for people doing the improvement work prevents a lot of wandering in the wilderness. Address these and other issues before you start a mapping exercise if possible, in the form of a Value Proposition or Team Charter.

Lean Tip #1929 – VSM: Walk the Process.
Conduct a formal “Waste” or Process Walk prior to building the “as is” map. Engaging in short, structured interviews with process participants becomes a rich source of data, flow and process issues. It also increases external interest in process improvement since people appreciate being asked for their input.

Lean Tip #1930 – VSM: Map What the Process Really Is.

People often relate what they “think” the process is – so when mapping the “as is” process you have to push past the SOPs, or Standard Operating Procedures, to find out all the shortcuts, rework loops, cheat sheets and workarounds – nobody thinks of those on the first pass. And keep the steps at the same “elevation level”, meaning don’t combine general tasks such as “generate the invoice” with details like “turn the page.”

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