On February 14th and 15th, several members of the LINK North America Test Operations met for a two-day Value Stream Mapping workshop. A System Matter Expert in lean operating principles from the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center was on hand to facilitate the event and to lead in the training of the VSM techniques. These techniques are helpful in organizing and clarifying work flow processes, help in the identification of waste in the execution of those processes, and with the ultimate goal of streamlining the work flow. Successfully done, the result is the ability to shorten lead times, improve customer satisfaction, improve quality and employee satisfaction. The MMTC training makes the bold statement that typically 95% of total lead time is non-value added! With this in mind, the team dug in to see if reductions in the effort and time required to execute a portion of the business process was tackled.
The team examined the current process of sending our customers accurate and timely invoices for testing services provided. The process began with the completion of a test request, followed by the ability to forward an invoice to the customer for services rendered. Once the team outlined the current process in the standard format of a value stream map, they were able to identify areas of waste. These are classified as one of the following: defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra processing.
Focused on identifying waste in the current state, our team collectively identified how to reduce or even eliminate the wasted efforts and time in the current process. The objective was to standardize the processes between the various groups involved, and to streamline the process as much as possible. At the end of the dedicated two-day session, steps were identified that would allow for an 88% reduction in the lead time required in this phase of the business process!
The event was highly successful. Not only was the objective at hand met, but with the training and better understanding of the value stream mapping technique, other elements of the business can be examined in a similar manner. LINK is dedicated to customer satisfaction and exceeding their expectations, while driving for solid business results. By continuing to look for ways to pursue and implement lean principles we will continue to learn and improve day by day. Many thanks to all the participants and our facilitator from MMTC.