Best Practices 101, Part 3

Reading time ( words)

As we deep dive into the four critical steps of value stream mapping, (VSM), by now you should have a good understanding of just how powerful some of these tools and techniques can be. And the best part? It is not rocket science; it’s just common sense!

Step 1: Identify the Proper Process

This step cannot be stressed enough because it is often overlooked by many companies new to Lean. Fresh out of training, the VSM team often runs out and starts mapping the first process they see. While VSM, if anything, is better than nothing, efforts should be focused on the critical processes having the greatest impact on the product.

Let’s look at a typical supply chain transaction from the point of a customer order through delivery of the product. Figure 1 example shows a macro view of the supply chain cycle to illustrate how VSM works. This high-level view would be one way to drive Lean down through the supply chain to sub-suppliers. Of course, discrete processes within each supplier would need to be value stream mapped to enable reductions in their respective lead times. This product depicts a process with an eight-week lead time, which, after value stream mapping the process, reveals that there are only seven hours of value-added time on this product. As unbelievable as these results sound, most organizations experience a similar disparity in their processes. The key takeaway of this scenario is that the excessive lead time has created enough customer dissatisfaction that the business is in jeopardy.

Now let’s turn this diagram into a current state value stream map. The original working session for developing a VSM is very manual, and as I mentioned earlier, is best done on a white board or with Post-it Notes. As the name implies, the goal is to find out how the processing is currently operating today, not how the SOP says things should be or how it was designed to be. The goal is to capture reality onto a piece of paper—the current state. Use a stopwatch for the time studies and determine the actual times where practical. While the VSM will eventually be finalized with software, the initial map should be created with Post-it Notes because there will be frequent changes as the team goes through this process. Once the process has been defined, the Post-it Notes map can be digitized with flowcharting software. Value stream maps use a variety of unique symbols that are not used in traditional flowcharts and diagrams, as shown in Figure 2. Word and Excel can be used for flowcharting, but for ease of use, professional flowcharting software like Visio should be used.

Read the full column here.

Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of The PCB Magazine.


Suggested Items

Challenges of the 2022 PCB Market: The Party’s Over

08/08/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
With his knowledgeable insight into the business and technology of the printed circuit industry, Dr. Shiuh-Kao Chiang, managing partner at Prismark Partners, has put a global perspective on the challenges of the 2022 PCB market. His presentation at the EIPC Summer Conference in Orebro, Sweden, on June 14 was eagerly awaited by an attentive audience, keen to share his vision. From his comments, it was clear that 2022 will be an interesting year and does not appear particularly friendly for the PCB business.

Chris Mitchell's Top 10 Takeaways from IPC APEX EXPO 2022

02/24/2022 | Chris Mitchell, IPC Vice President of Global Government Relations
The recent surge in COVID cases provoked more than a few questions about what to expect at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO. But as I traversed the San Diego Convention Center last week, the top answer was clear: a lot of smiles! Sure, they were hidden behind masks, but they were evident in the eyes of everyone I met. Attendees were thrilled to be back together in person, sharing ideas as freely as elbow bumps. IPC is a community, and APEX EXPO is the place where we build it.

What’s Driving Price Increases for CCL and Prepreg?

01/20/2021 | Mark Goodwin, Ventec International Group
Demand for copper foil is increasing from both PCB and battery production for e-mobility, leading to an upward price pressure for copper foils as post lockdown pent-up demand starts to exceed capacity. Lead times are stretching and prices increasing, particularly for heavy copper foils (2 oz./70 micron and above) as capacity is repurposed to maximize square-meter output for lightweight foils to increase capacity for lithium battery production.

Copyright © 2023 I-Connect007 | IPC Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.