Monday, December 28, 2015

Want a eye opener? Yamazumi yourself!

Happy Holidays to everyone!  This is my last blog post for 2015, it's been a great and exciting year for us.  Teaching Lean Inc is looking forward to a very busy 2016 -- #lifeonplanes takes us to many places this coming year!  Follow us on our journey to #movetheneedle!

So I thought for a bit trying to come up with a end of year blog post and I brainstormed various subjects, some of which have been covered to some extent and some not as deeply.   I settled on one we discuss during our sessions that was taught to us very early on our learning path by our Japanese trainers.

So what is a Yamazumi chart?  Basically its a "stacked" bar chart that can illustrate various aspects of a process such as:

  •  Wait time
  •  Walk time
  •  Process time
  •  Machine time
  •  Set up time
  •  Rework/Repair
  •  Delay work
  •  Wait Kanban time
These are several of the elements to describe what can begin to create a yamazumi chart.    Other important factors to take into consideration are:
  • Process capacity
  • Machine capacity
  • Manpower capacity/level loading
  • Takt time (what does the customer need and it repeatable and attainable)
  •  Mix capabilities / level loading
What we find is that many organization (not just manufacturing) have a hard time answering these questions.   These were never asked in the beginning with a customer and assumptions, estimations, and opinions are made as to how to best produce our product, output or service.   Most are able to "wing it" and somehow at the end of the day, week or month we make it work.  But this process is often not repeatable/sustainable or the most value added way to do business in regard to company key performance indicators.  

Here is a picture of a Yamazumi chart being managed based on current state and what the standard should be.  

 As you can see there are many work elements (stacked magnets) that create the entire work process (some of which are the items above).   The red line going across is the standard takt expectation so we are clearly able to see the gaps at a glance.  This allows the trainer to re-balance or kaizen in order to meet the internal and external customer expectation.    It's a great visual tool to see abnormality very quickly as well as the team being involved with where they are in regard to the standard. 

Another valuable way I was taught the Yamazumi tool was to do this for my own personal work each day.   Basically it was a very intriguing way to learn what we actually "do" in a 40-50-60 hour work work and putting that work into categories like value add, non-value add, ancillary work, rework etc. 
Our trainers gave us this task to one understand how to track and measure, and two to gain an understanding of wasteful actions that we tend to accept as the norm.   So we tracked items like:

  • Training and development time (on the process/in classroom)
  • Gemba time (at the process)
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Staff meetings
  • Team leader meetings
  • Phone calls (differentiated by subject matter)
  • Andon call answer (or problem awareness discussions)
  • Kaizen time
  • Problem solving at the process
  • Scrap/Rework
  • Reoccurring problems
  • Human Resources 
  • Corrective action conferences (attendance issues etc)
  • KPI board management
  • Set-up work (before and after shift)
  • Shift to Shift meetings
  • Quality Circles
  • Safety task force
  • Productivity management
These are a few to get you started but by all means aren't meant to be an all inclusive list.  There are many items that come up daily we "react" to.  We have to determine whether or not its value add or non-value add to the customer/organization. 

When I document all the items I did for a full week I then began to put them into the categories that I mentioned above.   Some of them may go into a misc. category similar to a pareto chart.   Most you can categorize.   

What I found was amazing after doing the exercise.   A personal note- the more honest you are with your documentation and categorization the more you will learn.    After looking at all the categories and visualizing my week in a pie chart I made an important realization - that 30-35% of my work was actually non-value add to our organization and customer.   Now this doesn't mean I sat at my desk twiddling my thumbs, (some could be-lol) it means that there is no value in some action items you documented.  For example rework, or "do-overs" - having to deal with the same problems day after day.   Some would say only solving the symptom not the root cause.   There were many examples of that among other findings I was accepting as the norm.   Until I could actually visualize it some of the items were never considered as a gap to standard.  After that valuable lesson I never looked at what I did each day the same, it made me think at a different level and analyze actions and decisions I made and to teach that thinking to others. 

I also did this exercise with my own team leaders as a way to develop their thinking as well.  What we found as a team was enlightening.   We were actually able to re-balance a team leader to another area that was going through a minor model change.  We didn't have to hire another person, we utilized our current resources and maximized the value.   This was such a valuable lesson for me/us along our learning path (which never ends).   I encourage you to give it a try sometime.  Shoot for a 70-75% value added week.  It gives you a standard so you will be able to determine current state and see your gaps! As Nike says"  Just Do It! --- I say -- "Yamazumi Yourself!!" :) #yamazumiyourself !!  
Until next year
Tracey and Ernie Richardson

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