Once we have started to unlock the barriers to flow in your Value Stream, we can help you to think about synchronising your processes. This is a vital step as unsynchronised processes will generate inventory, over-production and excess waiting time if not held in check. We deploy a suite of tools & techniques to help you synchronise your process steps to ensure that you pace your processes to customer demand and that you maximise the value flowing through each step of your Value Stream. Detailed below are examples of some of the tools we use, and the benefits they can give to you:
Takt time is such a fundamental foundation stone of an organisation’s lean journey that we are often surprised by how many people we meet who – despite the claim that their firms have been implementing lean principles for many years – still have no concept of takt time and its use. Takt time is the drumbeat that synchronises every step in your organisation; it’s based on understanding true customer demand and the time you have available to meet this demand. It’s a simple but powerful concept, and challenges conventional thinking, that assets need to be ‘sweat’ to pay for themselves, and the idea of stretching production targets way beyond customer demand to somehow improve cost performance. We help businesses understand the takt time in their Value Stream, and to design a near-Future State around meeting this demand, as well as a far-Future state to meet the future customer demand.
Kanban / Pull Systems
Another key principle of lean is to ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ the product (or patient or information etc) from the previous step in the process, and only when required. This introduces synchronised flow, and prevents one step in the Value Stream from getting too far out of step with the others. The use of Kanban helps us to achieve a ‘pull’ system, in that it provides a ‘signal’ for the previous step to produce the next item on the plan. Kanban systems are a great source of creativity for teams, and don’t need to be limited to the traditional ticket or card. We aim to tailor them to the organisation and product or service that we work in. The one principle we never waiver from though is that the solution must always be visual. Kanban systems based on computers are not part of what we do!