We have interviewed Max Lindholm, consultant at Trivector LogiQ to talk about value streams and get an insight in how it is to lead and implement global improvement projects.
You have an extensive experience of planning, leading and realizing improvement projects in producing businesses on a global scale. You have managed a number of projects with the goal of shortening lead times by increased flow efficiency within producing industries. Explain what it means to map and analyse value streams or flows.
Value stream mapping and analysis is a methodology that is sharp when aiming to reduce lead-times in flows by creating a process map, a gross-list of potential improvements and prioritizing the implementation of these. This methodology is similar to mapping processes but in this case the focus is on the journeys through the process rather than on the road itself.
The purpose is to create a clear picture of which opportunities there are in the flows that need to be implemented to reach a higher flow-efficiency, thereby making it possible to offer customers lower lead-time.
When you map and analyse the value streams, it is important to observe the flows in reality rather than relying on what is being said in the conference room is correct.
Can you give an example of how the result of a value stream analysis can be used in practice?
Many organisation, in both the private and the public sectors, struggle with an unnecessary amount of buffers as well as the size of the buffers between value adding activities in their flows. Since the size of the buffers in the flows increases the through-put-times, the total lead-times for a product or a service become too long for the customer to accept.
By straightening out and balancing the flows, lead-times can be reduced and the customer can be offered shorter lead-times in form of delivery times or handling times.
You have worked with factories in China, India, Germany and Sweden. Managing global improvement projects involves a set of challenges, what are the most common challenges?
It is common to bump into cultural differences regarding how to manage change. There are cultural differences between countries but also between different industries.
In some cultures, with strong and clear hierarchy it’s often enough to get the management onboard to realize the change. In other cultures, it is important to have all stakeholders involved during the complete change journey to reach the end goal.
What are the key factors needed to succeed?
It’s important to adjust the setup of the change or improvement initiative depending on industry, culture and which people are involved in the change journey.
Are there any differences in working in a factory in Germany in comparison to Sweden?
Yes, amongst others there are changes in the pride one has towards ones profession. Another difference is the planning horizon and the desire to invest for the long term. Germans tend to have a longer time horizon for initiatives and do not let the next quarterly report decide the outcome. This is linked to their legislation regarding closing and moving businesses in Germany which are linked to a higher price tag. This legislation does not exist in Sweden.
- Contact Max Lindholm, Max.Lindholm@trivector.se