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Lean meets Industry 4.0: Value stream thinking as denominator

Lean meets Industry 4.0: Value stream thinking as denominator Source: Sylvia Stockbauer

In my previous post I showed why lean production and Industry 4.0 don’t necessarily complement each other in practice, and explained the prerequisites to making them a powerful combination.

This is possible only if

  1. Production systems have been suitably designed (“first process maturity, then Industry 4.0”) and
  2. IT experts understand the complexity of the manufacturing systems and can offer appropriate advice (“combine manufacturing & IT expertise”).

Bosch plants that are already far advanced on the Bosch Production System (BPS) road carry out the Value Stream Mapping (VSM) and Value Stream Design (VSD) methods every three months in order to continuously analyze the actual condition of their systems and systematically exploit their improvement potential. Doing so is the best way to integrate the continuous further development offered by Industry 4.0 initiatives in a targeted way.

Value stream thinking as common denominator

What is Value Stream Planning?

The Value Stream Planning method is a central element in the optimization of the order fulfillment process. It is used in order to fully understand and document the processes of creating added value, i.e. all the material and information flows that a product passes through along the value stream. We use standardized symbols to display these. (Source: BPS Handbook, 2015)

It is essential that the Industry 4.0 software engineers – like the manufacturing engineers – think along the entire value stream end to end from suppliers to customers. Only in this way can they discuss the use of Industry 4.0 solutions with the manufacturing experts in a targeted manner and come up with productive solutions.

Specifically, this can mean offering optimized software for smartphones in order to support production planning and quality management experts during gemba walks and provide them with the relevant KPIs.

Value stream mapping for Industry 4.0 too

For the success of Industry 4.0 projects, it is essential to engage at exactly the right points – the ones that will deliver the greatest impact. To this end, our consulting is based on VSM and VSDWe use them specifically in getting-started workshops in order to evaluate where Industry 4.0 projects are most effective and deliver the greatest benefit.

In this system, CIP flashes are hotspots that point to problems in the value stream. They are first removed systematically, a process that can be supported by software. They are identified jointly by the production planners and IT experts using VSM. In the VSM example below, these hotspots include supplier fluctuation, high downtime, high cycle time, etc.

Infographic showing a value stream map with CIP flashes.
Sample value stream map with CIP flashes showing hotspots for improvement

A typical first step is to evaluate the data collected in these production steps and then visualize it to facilitate monitoring.

In many of our projects, the customer then asks us to set up the continuous software-based monitoring of process and quality data using data analytics and visualization, at least at the hotspots. As a further step, automatically derived actions can also be triggered if appropriate – with the expert at the production site in the lead, of course.

Software can provide the essential support for identifying causes and evaluate large volumes of data using data analytics algorithms (root-cause analysis)

Value stream design to identify Industry 4.0 improvement potential

The VSD example derived from the VSM shows the support provided at CIP flashes as jointly defined by the manufacturing and IT experts, most of which is already facilitated by software:

  • Supplier fluctuation: setting up an intelligent dynamic supermarket as a buffer.
  • High downtime: implementing an early warning system with fast escalation and quick troubleshooting mechanisms.
  • High cycle time: monitoring of cycle time implemented, including benchmarking.
  • High C/O: building up a buffer stock in order to reduce waiting during changeover.
  • High failure rate: switch to intelligent adaptive testing.
  • High customer fluctuation: software to manage dynamic supermarket as a buffer.
  • Long lead time: software-based kanban helps reduce lead time.

Infographic showing a sample value stream design with software support at identified CIP hotspots.
Sample value stream design with software support at identified CIP hotspots

These solutions are then ready for targeted implementation as part of the CIP system rounds – with a view to gradually developing the manufacturing facilities to become ready for Industry 4.0.

What experience do you have implementing Value Stream Mapping and Design in the context of Industry 4.0 initiatives?

More on Industry 4.0

We tell you how Industry 4.0 and lean production are becoming best friends.

How to get started with an Industrial IoT project? We offer a five-step approach.

Putting Industry 4.0 into practice: How OSRAM made made manufacturing more efficient in its Berlin plant.