Learning to See

The journey towards lean is difficult and strewn with uncertainties. Where do you begin? What are the nonvalue-adding processes that can be eliminated? What lean techniques should you apply, where, and in what order? These are difficult questions to answer if you dont have the proper tool.

     More and more companies are using value-stream mapping to find the answers. When you are ready to apply this fundamental tool in your company, there is no better resource than Learning to See, the workbook that introduced the mapping technique in the summer of 1998 and has been translated into 11 languages.
     Mapping is an overarching tool that gives you a picture of the entire production process, including both value and nonvalue-adding activities. It helps you avoid the common mistake of cherry-picking lean techniques, which leads to building isolated islands of improvement instead of improving the whole production flow to reap the biggest benefits. And mapping helps you understand the sources of waste so you can apply the right lean techniques at the right places for bigger and more sustainable impact. The benefits of mapping also include:
·Establishing a direction for the companys improvement efforts – maps become the blueprints for the lean transformation.
·Gaining a better understanding of the linkages between material and information flow.
·Visualizing improvements to the overall production flow, instead of spot improvements to single processes.
·Creating the basis of an effective lean implementation plan by designing how the door-to-door material and information flow should operate.
·Giving operators, engineers, and managers a common language of continuous improvement.
Beginning with a foreword by Jim Womack and Dan Jones, authors of the landmark book Lean Thinking, the Learning to See workbook breaks down the important concepts of value-stream mapping into an easy-to- understand format. The 102-page workbook is filled with actual value-stream maps, as well as engaging diagrams and illustrations. Like all LEI workbooks,Learning to See is written in plain English and answers the key question managers often have about lean tools and concepts -What do I do on Monday morning to implement this?
Simple and Practical
Youll learn how to see value, differentiate value from waste, and eliminate the sources of waste by creating accurate current-state and future-state maps for each of your product families. And youll learn the reasons for introducing a mapping program and how it fits into a lean conversion. Throughout the process, Learning to See explains the key concepts of value-stream mapping. Written by experienced lean practitioners, Mike Rother and John Shook, the workbook makes complicated concepts simple.
     To encourage you to become actively involved in the learning process, Learning to See contains a case study based on a fictional company called Acme Stamping. Youll begin by mapping the current-state of a value stream and identifying all the sources of waste in it. After the waste is identified, you develop a map of a leaner future value stream and an action plan for implementation. The authors guide you through the process of designing a leaner future-state by using eight simple but practical questions:
1.What is the takt time?
2.Will you build to a finished goods supermarket, or directly to shipping?
3.Where can you use continuous flow processing?
4.Where will you need to use supermarket pull systems to control production of upstream processes?
5.At what single point in the production chain (the “pacemaker process”) will you schedule production?
6.How will you level the production mix at the pacemaker process?
7.What increment of work will you consistently release and take away at the pacemaker process?
8.What process improvements will be necessary for the value stream to flow as your future-state design specifies?
The workbook also shows you how to break the future-state implementation process into do-able steps and how to develop a yearly value-stream improvement plan. It features a set of data for a second example company so you can practice mapping, and then compare your maps to the ones provided in the appendix. The appendix also features a list of icons and their usages for reference.
     Learning to See is for managers and executives who are familiar with basic lean concepts as described in Lean Thinking by Womack and Jones.