Lean Six Sigma Tools
Process Flow Map
- This valve manufacturer produced a semi-finished product that its customer final assembled / packaged for their original-equipment-manufacture (OEM) and distributor customers. The final assembly/packaging was being transferred to the valve manufacturer. Instead of producing 200 stock-keeping-units (SKUs) in larger lot sizes they would be producing and shipping over 1800 SKUs in quantities as small as 1 valve.
- We knew that we would have to stock valves. The first question was what needed to be stocked and in what configuration. SKU Warehouse Presentation.
- From the Pareto chart on slide 1 we determined that the top 54 valves would be stocked in finished goods form. In addition, the very best sellers would be stocked in the easiest-to-reach location.
- The second Pareto chart (slide 2) considered how the semi-finished valve-families would be stocked. The semi-finished valve-families had to be final assembled/packaged prior to shipping. The best semi-finished valve-families would be stocked in the easiest-to-reach locations near the final assembly/packaging area.
- Next we conducted a Spaghetti-Map analysis to determine the existing state of these operations. Slide 3 shows the how the company was operating to fill these orders before we engaged in this project. The area you see on slide 3 is about 200 x 300 feet. You are seeing one order for about 24 valves being assembled and packaged. This certainly made the case that we need to make changes in the layout.
- Inventory and tools were consolidated in the lower section of the slide in a self-contained operation (see slides 4 and 5). The operator has all the tools she needs and pulls the inventory from an area directly around her workstation.
- Lastly we mapped the scheduling and paperwork process to find non-value-added steps within the business process. Slide 8 shows that in this relatively small process we found 7 steps that could be eliminated to improve office and warehouse labor productivity.
I think this this project, as much as any I have done in the last few years, shows how we can use relatively simple Lean and Six Sigma tools, in combination, to make dramatic improvements.