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How can you get LEAN, when the FAT keeps moving!

The only way to get truly get LEAN — as opposed to superficial “spot reduction” — is to understand and work the whole system.

You can do a hundred sit-ups a day. You can eat nothing but celery and tuna. And you can still be too pudgy. The truth is, it’s not always so easy to figure out what activities will have the greatest impact when you’re trying to lose weightLean-2

The same is true for your corporate LEAN program. No matter how diligently you “lean out” a particular part of a process, unless you can see the entire “ripple effect” throughout the whole system, the overall impact may be minimal or even non-existent.

hammerman For example, Value Stream Mapping (VSM) can be a great tool and a cornerstone of your LEAN program. For some projects it can be quick, effective visual way to identify some specific bottlenecks and sources of waste. But it is not the only or even the best tool for every situation. Unfortunately, some LEAN professionals seem to think that they can shoe-horn every problem into a VSM framework. But, as the old saying goes, “Everything looks like a nail to the man who only has a hammer.”

The truth is that while VSM may be great for visualizing and analyzing relatively simple and straightforward manufacturing processes (after all, it was originally developed by Toyota specifically for automobile manufacturing problems), it is actually very difficult—if not impossible—to use VSM to adequately model a system that has:

  • Variability
  • Multiple (product) streams
  • Shared resources
  • Interdependencies

The fact is that most systems are simply too complex to be adequately modeled with a two-dimensional, linear, “paper and pencil”-type of tool.Lean-1 Trying to “define” a complex systems by looking at a simple Value Stream Map is like trying to understand a family just by looking at their family portrait.

Enter Value Stream Simulation. By using ProcessModel for LEAN Value Stream Simulation, you can capture a deeper understanding of how best to maximize value and minimize waste. Take a closer look at how ProcessModel helps you at every stage of your LEAN program, easily becoming the most valuable component in your LEAN toolkit. Use ProcessModel for:

  • Mapping and Simulating value streams
  • Optimizing processes for customer value
  • Creating both “Push” and “Pull” systems
  • Perfecting proposed process changes before costly implementation
  • Analyzing impact of 5S implementation
  • Kaizen blitz design
  • identifying multiple “hotspots” in complex systems
  • Automatically exploring thousands of “what if” scenarios
  • Communicating current state and future state conditions and result

Get your free trial version of ProcessModel and start simulating your LEAN projects today, or follow the links on the right to learn more!

One Comment

  1. Harold Ball December 17, 2014 at 12:51 PM - Reply

    Thanks Scott. I must agree that ProcessModel is an incredibly handy tool for building and exploring spatial simulations. I like its ability to easily incorporate external libraries into your models.

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