Raw Material Production
Summa Platform A Platform B
Zenith Platform A Platform B
Admiral Platform A Platform B
Comet Platform A Platform B
Firms along similar value streams often have complex relations with each other.
Where Should I Start?
Because products not yet in production seem easier and cheaper to rethink than products already in production, we often hear that extended or macro- mapping should focus on new products. And it is certainly an excellent idea to create “business as usual”and alternative “future state” and “ideal state” maps for every new product family as a core part of the product development process.
However, we do worry that concentrating on ideal states for products entering production at some point in the future will remove the pressure to improve stagnant value streams for current products that will continue in production for years to come. It’s our belief that organiza- tions truly committed to value stream thinking will tackle both their existing value streams for current products and those envisioned for new products.
In the aerospace industry, a product family might be an entire airframe
g., the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320). Alternatively, it might be a major sub- assembly, for example the vertical tail. The sub-assembly may have many variants for different buyers of the completed aircraft. For example the tail structure might incorporate different aerials and fairings for navigation and communication equipment. And the products within the family chosen for mapping might differ slightly in dimensions. For example, the basic tail design might be slightly longer for use on a stretched airframe. However, the vertical tail clearly constitutes a product family because all variants follow the same manufacturing path and have no commonality with tails for other aircraft, even if they are made in other areas of the same facilities by the same firm utilizing parts from the same suppliers.
Note that the same product family may be supplied to a number of different end customers and have cosmetic differences causing the casual observer to overlook product commonality. Nevertheless from the standpoint of the firm or facility at the downstream end of the map, the product is clearly a family.
Note also from the chart below that firms along similar value streams often have complex relations with each other. Delta supplies similar components to both Summa and Zenith; Omega fabricates similar parts for Delta and Azimuth; and Illinois Steel supplies materials to Theta and Zeta as well as Omega. Extended mapping cuts through this clutter to focus on just one stream in order to think of improvements that can eventually apply to all streams.