Lean Line Design Current State Map and Initial Future State
In the last post we talked about an Introduction to Lean Line Design. In that post we introduced terms that we will be using to describe the Lean Line Design process. The first step in the process is to understand what’s possible given your company culture. This is all part of understanding current state. There are working cultures that work better than others when you are trying to do a Lean Line Design. For more details you can watch our 40 minute webinar describing some of the cultural elements at play. The short answer is that you need some sort of collaborative culture to do a Lean Line Design. Lean is about learning and to do that you need to be able to create a safe space for learning to happen. Collaborative (or hero based) cultures tend to allow for that to happen. Other cultures like command and control or political cultures aren’t as helpful and can kill a line design effort before it even starts. Once you are able to create the space for you and the team you then select the team that is cross-functional as well and has a representation of the whole system. The system is defined as every process, department, system, and person involved in the new Lean Line. On your team you will want at least 40% representation of every group. Not everyone will participate at the same level but they should all have a voice in the process. Some departments will have more representation (operations and materials) and the more participation you can get the better the design and the faster the adoption of the new design.
The first technical step in a Lean Line Design is to do a current state stack chart of the process steps. This should be done with a stop watch and observational studies. Here are the steps in creating a current state stack chart:
1) Assign roles to the people doing observations
—> Process observer – write down process steps (work elements)
—> Time keeper – keep times on process steps
—> Waste observer – look for wastes in the process steps as well as any other wastes
2) Set a time to observe the work being done
3) Collect the data
4) Create a current state stack chart (see image below)
5) Based on group conversation remove and reduce work elements you think you can remove and reduce in the future state.
You now have your initial future state stack chart map.
Notice the stack chart on the left is around 120 seconds for a cycle time and the one on the right is around 85 seconds. Once you have done the future state total cycle time then we need to start with the line requirements which include takt time, line balancing, and other constraints.