The most logical first step is putting lean thinking into action is “mapping” the process. A detailed start-finish map, which divides the entire project into 5-6 major segments was essential. For instance, the construction of a building can be divided into site clearing and cleaning, foundation and cementing, framing, utilities, finalizing, and closure. Each of these divisions can be further broken down into specific tasks with time frames and locations. A detailed map should clearly outline what, where, when, who, and with what something has to be done. All experts in the work need to come together to prepare the map, to ensure quality at each section. Each packet of work in the Yacht case took a couple of days to weeks to complete.
After all the work groupings have been clearly outlined, time frames are then attached as they take their spot in the main start-finish flow chart. Each needs to be carefully examined to find out if it fits in with adjacent work packets. They will be attached to each other to form long strings of work packets for a particular work period.
The flow of work needs to be reviewed in weekly meetings as well. All the experts involved during the creation of the workflowchart need to be presentso that each one of them can account for their section. New developments are inevitable, and things do not always go according to plan. The chart is to be adjusted during such meetings so as to accommodate the new developments. The meeting looks at the future of the flow chart as well. If any packet is found to be impossible within the chart’s time frame, it is frozen or put on hold. A support team should now come in to try and find the cause and resolve the problem. For instance, in the Yacht construction case, the build process was thoroughly looked into 6 weeks ahead at each meeting.
The idea is to find a predictable, manageable and fully understandable method of going through the assembly process. The Yacht builder was able to deliver a quality yacht in time, and with a lower budget, thanks to our Lean Thinking Guidelines.
About Lean Learning Center
The Lean Learning Center was founded in 2001 to address the gaps and barriers that are holding back companies from successful and sustainable lean transformation. In addition to the advanced curriculum, the Center has developed a learning environment designed specifically for adult learning utilizing techniques that include discovery simulations, case studies, personal planning, and reflection – ultimately engaging people at a deep and personal level. We bring our unique lean understanding in creative ways to executives, managers, supervisors, change agents and front-line employees.