In the last four issues of the Lean Corner we have followed the creation of a Lean Enterprise from concept through identification of the IAA. Now it is time to begin making the IAA as Lean as possible. We will pursue this by first clearly understanding the "current state". Then we will plan the Lean "future state".
With a clear understanding of the current state and well-organized picture of the future state, we can now perform the gap analysis and organize the plan to get there.
For the purpose of this instruction we will assume the IAA is a manufacturing value stream, and we are currently working on the process from raw material through shipping. Please don't lose track of the idea that there are services and various activities that support this manufacturing example that, in the broader picture, are part of the overall value stream.
All that said, step one is to construct a "Current State Map". Explaining the detail regarding the construction of this important tool is beyond the scope of this article. This writer recommends you get the book Learning To See by Rother & Shook. This book will show you all you need to know to construct current and future state maps. For purposes of this article I want you to understand the concepts of these important tools.
The Current State Map shows flow of information from right to left across the top of the delineation and flow of product, left to right, across the bottom. Additional details include cycle times and dock-to-dock (DTD) times. The DTD is not really a measure of time but rather a measure of inventory in WIP. Once the DTD and the cycle times are mapped, the difference is the opportunity for improvement. The creation of the Future State Map is for the purpose of bringing these two numbers much closer together.
The Future State Map is the aggregate of all the Lean Thinking the implementation team can muster. The Future State Map starts by creating flow, both flow of information and product. Once the Future State Map is organized, it is only a dream until a plan and resources to get there are marshaled.
Marshaling of the resources:
Making the Future State a reality is no small thing. This is where the implementation team pulls out the tools. Work place organization is a must; this would be 5S. The ability to see the current state and identify abnormalities is equally important. The many components of "Visual Factory" come into play. Creating "Flow" requires balance, predictability, impeccable quality, and a system of "Pull". There are many obstacles to creating the Future State. The biggest obstacles will most likely rear their ugly head during the transition from a push system to a pull system.
Not to worry:
Although creating flow in the IAA will appear difficult, if not completely impossible, be not discouraged; "It can be done." Next month we will dig into the tool kit and see just how to create flow in the IAA.