Current state VSM for mixed model flow

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    I’m struggling with identifying best practices associated with conducting a current state VSM of a Mixed-Model valuse stream that includes numerous (as many as 10) different products sharing similar features, geometry and material. Some of the material I’ve come accross deals only with simplistic illustrations that don’t really simulate a “real-life” application similar to what can be seen in a “High variety job shop”.
    Any insights into how to go about doing this current state VSM would be appreciated.



    A common mistake is to put too much detail in a VSM – that is, many VSM’s look like process flow diagrams (they shouldn’t).
    I’d suggest that you start with a product-process matrix to identify your key families to verify that you indeed have (10) individual VSM’s.
    After you have a good product-process matrix then the next step would be to prioritize which VSM you are going to initially analyze.  This can be done by 1) a risk-reward matrix, 2) inventory segmentation ($ valuation) matrix (A, B, C’s), 3) or using typical Lean ’20 keys’ assessments (to ID the biggest opportunities).  Other business related decisions may also assist in this selection process.
    Thus – even if you do have (10) VSM’s – take them one at a time.   In my experience even highly integrated manufacturers won’t have more than 5 – 7 individual streams in the same facility.
    Hope this helps – remember that EPE (every part every …) is a goal of the VSM – maybe your mixed-model process will assist you in reducing inventory (turns).
    Hope this helps.
    If you’d like more specific advice you can reach me at [email protected].



    Have you read ‘Creating Mixed Model Value Streams’ by K J Duggan ?  Its a good follow up to ‘Learning to See’.
    Can you categorise the products into runners (make all of the time), repeaters (make frequently) and strangers (one offs or irregular production) ?  Then do the VSM for runners.
    When we did our VSM for just one runner product we found that it was inextricably linked to 2 other runners.  So we value stream mapped all three as one to keep it simple.
    You may also find in your VSM that that there is one pacemaker (or bottleneck) which affects all the products.  This can help simplify your focus.  Ensure the pacemaker can handle lots of product complexity with fast, high quality changeovers
    Sounds fun – good luck.  Tony



    Hi Joe,
    I agree with what tony said. To map your current process try analysing your product families by process routes. You may end up in identifyiing the products which you manufacture more and demand is high and secondly you will also discover low demand products (compared to high demand products). Make these as two seperate projects. Initially treat them seperate and later you should be able to draw a common line between the two.
    Step 1: Map for high demand and high output products by identifying the part families and process routing
    Step2: Map the current state VSM
    Step 3: Map the low demand output products
    Step 4: Map the current state VSM
    Step 5: Make a mixed model combining the two states
    Good luck and let me know if you have any further questions

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