Value Stream Mapping VSM FAQs

1. What is Value Stream Mapping?

The Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a simple but powerful Lean technique that is used for visualization and analysis of the flow of materials/ processes and information through mapping. The output of the mapping, value stream maps, provides a picture of the entire work processes, showing both value and non-value adding activities. Instead of taking a haphazard approach to lean implementation, VSM enables a more systematic and sustainable approach. VSM is also sometimes referred to as road-map or blueprint for lean transformations.

VSM looks at the full, end-to-end process pictorially using simple icons. It enables the visualization of how information and materials flow through all of the activities that occur from the time an order is placed, to the time the product or service is delivered. It starts with customer needs, shows how and when information is received, to the end where the product or service is delivered to the customer, as well as information flow and communication processes affect the whole flow.

By looking at the entire end-to-end process, VSM identifies non-value added steps and bottlenecks, thus enabling systematic elimination of these waste. The value stream maps become the baseline for improvement initiatives that eliminate no-value, wasteful activities.

2. What is the history of VSM?

VSM originates from car manufacturer Toyota, where they called it Material and Information Flow Mapping. It was pioneered by Taiichi Ohno, and Shigeo Shingo. However, it was Mike Rother and John Shook who made the technique popular to the world through their book Learning to See: value-stream mapping to create value and eliminate muda.

3. How does Value Stream Map differ from other mapping techniques such as business process mapping, flow charting or layout diagram?

VSM is a pictorial representation of every process in the material and information flow, along with key data. It differs significantly from tools such as business process mapping, flow charting or layout diagrams because it includes information flow as well as material flow. VSM is usually drawn in reverse, from customers up the stream towards suppliers. The need for genuine and real time data collected from the ground is also more important in VSM compare to other mapping techniques for the value stream map to be useful. This is because the actual ground data usually is shockingly different from that was estimated or calculated by the executives who thought they know the data at their finger tips.

4. What are the steps involved in Value Stream Mapping?

Step 1 – Identify the target product, product family, or service.

Step 2 – Draw current state value stream map, which shows the current steps, delays, and information flows required to deliver the target product or service. This may be a production flow (raw materials to consumer) or a design flow (concept to launch

Step 3 – Analyze the current state VSM in terms of creating flow by eliminating waste.

Step 4 – Draw future state VSM.

Step 5 – Implement the future state.

5. Is VSM applicable to non-manufacturing?

Although VSM is often associated with manufacturing operations, it can be used in any industry or environment to identify opportunities for improvement. It has been used with great success in areas such as:
– Service industries such as banking, finance and hospitality,
– Logistics and supply chain,
– Healthcare,
– Maintenance Repair Overhaul operations for automotive, aerospace and marine industries,
– Software and product development.
– Government and military
– Administrative and support functions of organizations such as sales, accounts, customer service and human resource (both manufacturing and service industries).

6. Is it better to use paper-and-pencil or software for value stream mapping?

The goal is to create a map, with minimum delay, while observing the target process in situation. Thus, value stream maps are usually drawn by hand in pencil to keep the mapping process simple and allow for simple and speedy correction. Usage of software at the initial stage of VSM is not recommended. Paper, pencil and post-it tag is recommended from the initial draft through to the completion of the finalized map.

Once the map is confirmed with all the information and data, software tools may be used to digitize for easy storage and formal presentation, although is not a must. Most companies, however, still prefer to leave the value stream maps on their walls in its original form and update it as and when required.

7. How long does it take to learn and master VSM skills?

It about takes 2 days to learn, but a whole life to put to master. There is no short cut to learning and mastering value stream mapping skills, the only way is to keep practicing it!

Automotive Sales – How to Replace the Income You Have Lost

The Automotive Sales industry is full of very talented sales people that are struggling to make ends meet since the down turn of the economy in October of 2008. This article will be the first in a series discussing the difficulties that these people are facing and how they can over come them.

I have been in the Automotive sales and sales training industry for over 25 years. I have seen some very good times along with some down times but I have never seen a decline in over all sales as bad as this past year. The biggest problem that these sales professionals face is how to justify the long hours,usually 10 to 12 hours a day,the pressure to perform at high levels and the daily grind that comes with this industry for half the money that they are use to making. Automotive sales professionals are use to making on the average of $80,000 to $120,000 a year depending on what type of franchise they are selling for.

When you consider that less than 1% of the total population makes over $100,000 a year you can see how this industry can become very addictive. What career options are available to these people? What career could they change to and replace that type of annual income with out extensive training and added expense? Real Estate? I don’t think so. Real estate brokers,if possible, may be in a worse situation than automotive sales people. Mortgage Broker? Not a chance! They depend on Real estate brokers and they are both wondering what career is next for them.

The answer is Internet Marketing. There is no recession on the Internet! In the next 2 years 70 million people will be looking to start a full or part time home based business. This transformation from the traditional business model of brick and mortar to the Internet business model will be the greatest transformation of wealth in history. Anyone can start a home based business. No matter what your level of Internet experience is.

The 3 groups of people I mentioned before,Automotive,Real Estate and Mortgage Brokers, all have sales experience which gives them a bit of an upper hand or head start when getting started in Internet Marketing. Automotive sales professionals are already use to using a CRM tool with an automated email responder for the initial follow up after the first contact with the prospect. The only thing for the automotive sales person to do is plug into a system that does all the work for you. How easy can that be?

With a fully automated system that includes several income streams,cutting edge technology, professional up to date training from the industries leading income producers and marketers that will teach you how to use the marketing tools that are needed to be successful in Internet marketing, anyone can start making money from the comfort of their home on a full or part time basis. This is exactly how I began in this industry and I have been able to match my full time income working part time out of my home office.

All it takes is drive and determination and you can turn your part time business from home into a full time six figure income and fire your boss!

It All Starts Here – A Review of the Automotive Starter Battery Market

Consolidation among the major battery manufacturers continues to shape the industry, particularly across Europe. Johann-Friedrich Dempwolff, Vice President Sales OEM/OES, VB Autobatterie GmbH, said: “If you look back to 1990, in Germany there were ten battery producers. In the UK there were at least five producers. In France there were several. In Italy there were over 50 very small businesses. All this has dramatically changed over the last decade. There are only a few strong players left in the marketplace.”

“The result of tighter environmental requirements, together with other legislation, has been the closure of plants in Western Europe and a move to the Far East, particularly China, and to super-plants,” said Lucas Batteries’ David Haseler. “We have recently announced the closure of our Birmingham [UK] factory for manufacturing, and will be sourcing from companies in Asia. Our advantage is that these are company-owned plants which will allow us to maintain a close control over supply and quality.”

Today, four valve regulated lead-acid battery manufacturers – of which three are American — have emerged as global players: Johnson Controls, Delphi, Exide Technologies and Yuasa. These four companies collectively control 55% of the global market. Johnson Controls recently signaled its intention to buy Delphi’s global battery business for $212.5 million. Yuasa recently merged with Japan Storage Battery, forming GS Yuasa Corp. Yuasa holds an 8% share of the global lead storage battery market while Japan Storage Battery has a 6% share. Their combined market share of 14% ranks them in third place in the global market.

The flood of imported batteries from tiger economies (such as China, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia) is also posing a serious challenge to European manufacturers. That has become a double-whammy for UK-based supplies since the imported units are especially cheap due to the weak dollar. Perversely, the Asian manufacturers have driven up the cost of lead because their consumption of it is so high. The price of oil is also driving up the cost of polypropylene used in battery manufacture.

Technically speaking, the starter battery market has moved completely to calcium-calcium technology, and the change is now almost complete in the aftermarket, certainly in developed countries. Lucas Batteries’ Haseler said: “There is a fast-growing requirement for sealed [non-accessible] lids with re-condensing features in the OE market, and this changeover should be complete within a few years. This reflects the trend in the automotive industry for sealed units. This is being closely followed by the requirement for a ‘tip-tilt’ lid, that is, a lid that will not allow any acid to leak out of the battery for at least 30 minutes with the battery at any angle. If the battery is still being charged, this time reduces to two minutes. This is achieved by a more complex labyrinth within the lid. This trend originated in Germany. The aftermarket can be expected to follow within a year or so. Sealed and tip-tilt lids are a consequence of the trend for greater safety and, in particular, the need to prevent access to the acid within a battery. Following the unsuccessful launch of VRLA [valve regulated lead acid batteries] into the OE market a few years ago, a second wave is now underway in companies such as Daimler-Chrysler and Citroen with its recently-launched C3. The Citroen C3 is the first of the long-heralded stop-start cars, in which the engine stops whenever the car stops, leaving the battery to power all the electrical system. This regime will increase the cycling loads on the battery, a demand which VRLA technology is best suited to supply. The drive for fewer emissions, associated with the need for better fuel-consumption, has clearly resulted in the move to stop-start cars.”

Austria’s Banner GmbH also sees the battery business moving toward calcium-calcium technology, particularly for cars introduced from 1997 onwards. Andreas Sperl, marketing manager, Banner GmbH, said: “These vehicles typically require modern charge management, higher voltage and maintenance free batteries. Given that batteries are often situated in places where the driver cannot see it — let alone the brand name — the battery must be maintenance free, leak proof and spill proof.”

On the aftermarket side of the automotive starter battery business, the market is shaped by a number of factors. “The car parc is increasing,” added Dempwolffe. “Secondly, the product is improving so the life of product is longer. And the electrical systems – which in the end determines the life of the battery – if you have a good charging system in your car, then this extends the life of the battery. On the other hand, the power consumption is increasing which is minimising the battery life. But overall, we see that the battery is extending its life and the market is stable and slightly shrinking. This of course is another challenge, especially for smaller producers. We believe that there is a slight shrinkage of the market year-on-year.”

According to industry sources, an OE vehicle starter battery for a passenger car should last around six years. That’s up from three or four years in the early 1990s. The useful life of a replacement battery may be a little less, perhaps around five years. For a commercial vehicle and motorcycle, manufacturers estimate the useful life of a battery is three or four years,

“Due to Europe’s congested cities, a lot of cars are now traveling in stop and go traffic, adding wear on the battery,” added Sperl. “The sheer heat generated under the bonnet due to an overcrowded engine compartment and the fact that batteries are located close to the engine block means that batteries are just as likely to fail in the summer as in the winter. Ten years ago, we would have said our battery aftermarket business was seasonal. But now it’s an all year round business.”

The power of brands appears to be diminishing in Europe, depending on the target segment. As far as the UK is concerned, that may relate to the fact that all the major battery manufacturers no longer produce batteries in Britain, as Paul Matarewicz, Managing Director for Varta Automotive Batterie, said: “It was driven by people who actually made batteries in the UK. As they have shut down and pulled out, they have been replaced by imported products from the Far East, South Africa and Brazil. These products are coming in without a label on and therefore you get a huge number of no-name products flooding the UK market. In the early 1990s, the UK aftermarket was about 60% branded. If you go back to the early 1980s, it was more like 90% branded. So there has been a very steady decline in brand.”

Another major issue facing the industry is the escalating price of lead. Given that lead typically accounts for 40% of manufacturing costs, any severe oscillations in price can have serious consequences. But producers can’t chop and change their strategy every time the price of lead moves. While some producers use an array of measures to manage price movements such as hedging and improving their spent battery collection rates, surely the key is to negotiate with the OEMs to assist them in absorbing the lead price increases. Put simply, battery producers can’t absorb a 100% increase in price in 40% of raw material costs. Otherwise, we shall see yet more consolidation ahead.

Although lead-acid starter batteries may not appear to have changed over the last four decades, internally, technological advances have been made to ensure that they keep up with modern demands. Lead-acid batteries will continue to start cars for many years, but the search continues for lighter, more efficient and cleaner replacements.