Lean initiatives can be implemented in a series of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycles. In addition to the value stream map metrics, is important to keep a set of metrics to measure progress so that lean and quality objectives are tracked after each cycle. Here is an example of a PDCA outline:
- Draw current value stream (VS) map in terms of processes (or activities) OR use future map from previous cycle
- Calculate times for current VS map
- Analyze current VS map for waste (delays, additional inspections, extra motions, transport, search time, etc)
- Make a list of relevant, comparable metrics (Cost of non-conformance, delays, search times, inspection times, quality levels, delivery times, customer feedback)
- List opportunities for removing such waste by reducing, re-organizing, realigning, training
- Select easiest opportunities to implement with highest impact first
- Draw future map based on selected opportunities
- Prepare action plan for selected opportunities
- Implement plan by assigning tasks / due dates (no delays)
- After implementation, let the system run and stabilize
- Collect data again for measuring progress
- Analyze data and compare against the “before” set of metrics listed under the Plan phase
- Provide visuals (charts / figures) to show progress / improvement
- Update future value stream (this will become the new “current” value stream)
- List of things you’ve learned from this cycle? Implement in other areas and document for availability and easy access.
- Goals achieved? If yes, What’s next on the opportunities list? If no, What’s the next goal?
- Go the next cycle of PDCA
I’ll use an example in Part II.