Nov 22 2017
Director of industrial engineering and manufacturing operational excellence at Boeing, asked “Why do we call it value stream? Most value streams have minimal value added work rates. Should we start calling them waste streams?”
To date, Dinesh has had responses from, besides myself, the following: Humaid Abubakar, Ray Ardahji, Andrew Brown, Mauro Cardenas, Evaristo Dominguez, Prakash Gadhar, Jacqueline Hartke, Jun Nakamuro, Salvador D. Sanchez, Mark Searcy, Oliver Tamis, Ravi Vaidiswaran, Matt Wehr.
Toyota alumnus Salvador Sanchez was first to point out that Toyota doesn’t use the term “value streams,” which was echoed by other past and present Toyota employees, like Evaristo Dominguez and Ray Ardahji.
My own response was that Toyota only uses the maps on supply chain issues and calls them “materials and information flows” (Mono to Joho no Nagare, or 物と情報の流れ). According to Ray Ardahji, the Japanese name is shortened to “monojo” at Toyota Boshoku.
Salvador Sanchez pointed out that the term “Value stream” was invented by John Shook. It’s less descriptive but it’s shorter and sounds more intellectual. When asked what you do, if you say “materials and information flow mapping,” you sound like an engineer; if you say “value-stream mapping,” like an MBA. There is no need to look for a deeper meaning.
“Call it what you like, whatever works for you. Don’t get hung up on the words,” said Matt Searcy, to which I replied that Dinesh’s question was about the words and that words matter. Early on in the database market, Oracle crushed a competitor called Ingres. Observers at the time said that Ingres was selling sushi and calling it raw fish while Oracle was selling raw fish and calling it sushi.
Responding to the part of Dinesh’s question pointing out that VSMs mostly show waste, Jacquelin Hartke said: “Value streams (in current state) May show little value, but they help guide improvement work and allow for focus on areas that have less or little value. Ideally, your future state value stream should provide more value, but can still always be improved upon.”
I agreed that it’s a tool but pointed out that there are many others. The book “Learning to See” elevated the VSM to the status of the tool to analyze operations, at the expense of all others. For example, when I look at a plant, I don’t start with a VSM. First, I examine the demand the plant responds to, through Product-Quantity and Seasonality analysis. There is a whole panoply of tools ranging in focus from business strategy to workstation design that are all useful to see a plant… The VSM is one of many, and shouldn’t be overemphasized.
For more details, see:
- Where do “Value Stream Maps” Come From?
- Value-Stream Mapping, Kaizen Blitzes, and Jishuken
- Data, information, knowledge, and Lean
- VSM Pitfall: unnecessary process | Chris Hohmann