We produce plastic fittings and pipes. We only have one process: only one machine is needed to produce a product. Can we still benefit from Value Stream Mapping? If yes, could you please explain how?
Thank you for your question. Value Stream Mapping (VSM) can benefit organizations of any size. The fundamental question you want to answer is: How quickly can I receive an order, build it, and be paid for it? This is “order-to-cash”. Along the way, we look primarily at two things – how quickly and smoothly can I get a build order to flow through my factory, and how do I minimize raw material inventory and work-in-process inventory during that process?
Value stream mapping can benefit your organization by answering some of the following questions…. How long do I wait for raw material (e.g., am I buying from down the street, or does it take months to arrive from China)? How long is a customer order in hand before I start up my machines to produce it? How long is my machine set-up? How long does work in process sit between machines? How long does material sit in the back of the plant before it is shipped? How long does it take me to get paid? Value stream mapping can help to answer these questions and challenge your organization to continuously shrink these times. I had one client who got very good at this. They insisted on payment from key customers within 30 days, and had payments terms of 60 days with their suppliers. In many cases, they were paid for their products before they even had to pay for their raw materials. That’s lean!
Denis J. Devos, P.Eng
A Fellow of the American Society for Quality
Devos Associates Inc.
For more on this topic, please visit ASQ’s website.