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Hi MBBP Subscribers, 

I've received some questions about writing the white papers for our lean management certification process. I decided to take this week's bulletin to discuss the process.

First and foremost, the use of the words "white paper" has created confusion. Tradition-ally the length of white papers has been from 2-8 pages; consequently, how does a paper with only 500 words qualify as a white paper? Good question. Reason: There is no law that says a white paper has to be more than one page.

To earn the certificate of completion enrollees need to complete a 500 word white paper on each of the program's 8-training modules. The reason our process uses the white paper instead of an exam is to establish contact with their mentor and encourage interact communications. This interaction assures that the enrollee has grasped the important principles and techniques of each training module. All interaction is done via email and progress is at the enrollee's pace.

White papers are reviewed by the enrollee's mentor and if accepted as written are retuned to the writer with commentary and his/her next training module. White papers not accepted by the mentor are returned to the writer with comments and suggestions and  require a rewrite and resubmission.

It's a simple process that assures that the enrollee is grasping the training materials and is able to communicate the important elements of each training module.

To give you an example of an approved white paper,  Larry E. Franciscus of the Philips Lighting Company has agreed for me to share with you his white paper on "Value Stream Mapping." It appears below the line.

Have a nice day, and stay connected.

Bill Gaw

Business Basics, LLC
6003 Dassia Way
Oceanside, CA 92056 

P.S. One of our MBBP subscribers has written a great article entitled: "5-strategies-for-growing-as-a-domestic-manufacturer." To read it: click here

White PaperValue Stream Mapping Basics 
January.  18, 2010

            It is said a picture is worth a thousand words and lean manufacturing relies heavily on the visual to improve processes.   Value Stream Maps (VSM) are a visual representation of value added to a product as it moves through the manufacturing process.  The map includes flow of information, product raw materials, cycle time and, done properly, will show areas of waste. 

            There are 7 types of waste (adding cost without adding value) with overproduction being considered the worst.  The others are: Waiting, Transport, Extra processing, Inventory and Defects.

            The best VSMs are developed by Teams of people with cross-functional knowledge of the area being mapped and who have been trained in problem solving techniques.  It is most helpful to have a trained facilitator guiding this process.  The first Map will deliver a picture of the “way it is now”.  Once completed, the Team will use data at it’s’ disposal to study each step on the map for value added.  This will generate a list of problems which are also placed on the map (starbursts i.e.). 

            With the entire current process mapped, the Team will stand back and ask, “How do we want it to be to provide the best service, quality and price to our customers” and a Future state mapped is developed.  How to get from current state to future state?  Each “problem” is analyzed for corrective actions using proven problem solving techniques and the corrective action placed on an implementation plan.  They are ranked according to importance and resources are assigned to implement. 

            As in any lean manufacturing exercise, a visual display of this plan should be available to all team members and the rest of the process owners.  As the Team moves to the future state, the benefits expected are also tracked and displayed.

            You should notice that the VSM process relies heavily on trained Team personnel and the team dynamics for this process should be “smooth”.  It is amazing the things that come “out of the woodwork” during a VSM.  It is not unexpected to hear a lot of “I didn’t know that” coming from the room.  Each of us has our own piece of the value stream map and do not necessarily know what comes before or after their part. 

            The business knowledge gained by all team members involved in a VSM is tremendous and can then be used moving forward to make better decision.  A significant investment in time up front leads to the opportunity for continuous improvement moving forward. 

            One more thing; A VSM can be of a very small area with several leading to an overall mapping of the entire process.  Do not take on more than your trained personnel can handle when considering VSM.

Larry E. Franciscus
Compliance Officer, Philips Lighting Company

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