Title: An initiative to implement lean manufacturing using value stream mapping in a small company

Authors: Chandandeep Grewal

Addresses: Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, T2N 1N4, Canada

Abstract: In recent years, Value Stream Mapping (VSM) has emerged as the preferred way to support and implement the lean approach. VSM is a helpful tool to identify the waste and improvement areas. VSM enables a company to see the entire process in both its current and desired future state, and develop the road map that prioritises the projects or tasks to bridge the gap between the current state and the future (lean) state. VSM is a visual illustration of the entire value stream (from customer order entry through purchasing, manufacturing and shipping of the finished product in a facility). This paper describes the implementation of VSM in a small manufacturing firm as a lean manufacturing improvement initiative. This involved mapping the activities of the firm, identifying opportunities for improvement and then undertaking with the firm an improvement programme. Current state map is prepared to describe the existing position and various problem areas. TAKT time calculations are carried out to set the pace of production. Future state map is prepared to show the proposed improvement action plans. The achievements of value stream implementation are reduction in lead time, cycle time and inventory level. It was found that even a small company can make significant improvements by adopting VSM.

Keywords: value stream mapping; VSM; lean manufacturing; current state map; future state map; TAKT time; small firms; manufacturing firms; lead time reduction; cycle time reduction; inventory reduction.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMTM.2008.020176

International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management, 2008 Vol.15 No.3/4, pp.404 - 417

Published online: 06 Sep 2008 *

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