TR Cutler | Digital Kanban & Value Stream Mapping Profile

by : Thomas Cutler

In the current issue of The Machinist magazine, leading manufacturing journalist, Thomas R. Cutler, describes the current nature of Value Stream Mapping in conjunction with Demand Driven Supply Chain lean tools.

According to Stephen Parker, CEO of Datacraft Solutions, "We recently tracked an automotive manufacturing industry client who recognized a 50 per cent decrease in inventory levels over six months ($16 million to $8 million); order of magnitude increase in inventory turns from 10 to 105; 60-70 per cent of on-hand inventory is 4-5 working days of demand; significant operational benefits; 5000 scans a day with zero expedites over six months; and doubled revenue while realizing these benefits."

Mr. Parker believes that this is all part of the distinct competitive advantage that can be derived from the value stream mapping, noting that, "Digital Kanban solutions within the demand driven supply chain impacts the profit margins in several ways, from decreasing expense side tangible costs associated with legacy forecast management solutions, while increasing the profit margins through efficiency gains and increasing the customer satisfaction results in additional sales from new as well as existing customers. Mr. Parker further added, "Automated or Digital Kanban can dramatically reduce inventory, increase turns, and eliminate stock outs while enhancing supplier relations and customer satisfaction."

Demand Driven Supply Chain and the use of Electronic Kanban by one company. This detailed case study provides insight to the process and functionality of the most important lean tool.

Value stream mapping (VSM) is perhaps the most worthwhile lean innovation because according to Lynne Hambleton it allows manufacturers to ask, "Where is value being added in the process and conversely, where does waste exist in the
process?" Ms Hambleton, author of Treasure Chest of Six Sigma Growth Methods, Tools, and Best Practices, suggests that VSM provides specific analytics including:

? Identify the value-add and non-value-add activities in a process and discover improvement and/or redesign opportunities

? Analyze where waste occurs in a process and develop a strategy to improve the process flow by eliminating the waste

? Make the processes work for a company,

Value stream mapping leads to technological breakthroughs obviously the elimination of waste and identifying the ideal flow changes the efficiency of an organization. However, far beyond eliminating rework by creating standardized work reducing inventory, or balancing workloads, a genuine competitive advantage is created through the implementation of a value stream mapping because the organization seeks technological breakthroughs.

About Datacraft Solutions:

Datacraft Solutions ( delivers a revolutionary digital kanban process of automation solutions to lean manufacturers through a secure Internet gateway, eliminating the need to install and maintain a complex IT infrastructure. The company has experienced significant growth in the past twelve months by eliminating complicated, expensive, time-intensive software implementations as well as extensive training regiments and the need for internal support. The Datacraft Solutions' replenishment supply chain digital kanban lean system allows customers access and fully utilize powerful lean benefits immediately for a low, predictable monthly fee; services are scalable so manufacturers can design an appropriate solution.