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The Lean Benchmark Report

has over one hundred Lean masters and they train additional employees each year in a four week course. These people are then placed back into both manufacturing and non- manufacturing roles to make specific improvements, leveraging the VSM methodology. At Honeywell, Lean masters (including Six Sigma Black Belts and Green Belts) are de- ployed around the globe to drive Lean thinking and techniques into all aspects of its busi- ness.

Technology-Enabling Lean Processes

Although the Lean early adopters were not proponents of technology, circumstances have changed. For many industry leaders and global companies today, proprietary Lean proc- esses underpin their business operating models. Companies are looking to leverage and extend Lean techniques, business process building blocks (key functions and tasks) should be standardized and the process itself institutionalized to protect competitive ad- vantage. And, as companies achieve solid ROI with Lean pilots and programs, organiza- tional knowledge should be captured electronically, so that these processes can be both replicated and scaled into other factories and supply chain partners. Finally, there have been many advances in technology solutions over the past decade, including the incorpo- ration of Web-based tools, improved decision support capabilities, and real-time access to manufacturing data.

Nonetheless, many key Lean processes remain un-automated, as shown in Figure 5; Value Stream Mapping is the least automated, yet the area that can deliver the most po- tential value. The overarching goal of the VSM process is to collaboratively develop “to be” models that represent in detail core Lean processes. VSM workshops are designed to encourage healthy debates that culminate in rationalized and multi-perspective customer- focused models. As VSM workshop sessions progress, participants gather critical data related to product and process design and manufacturing, including bills of material, product flow, workcell and equipment definition and target Takt time, throughput, and quality expectations. Although 37% of survey respondents still capture this data via pen- cil and paper and another 19% rely on Excel, the data becomes “time stamped” and can- not be used/reused to modify processes over time.

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