Value Stream Mappin' in Engineering

Note: This was the longest event that i have run to date. The team met for approximately 3 weeks in 1 month - after work, before work, etc.) because everyone understands the importance of breaking down our bottleneck process into something more managable and with less of a lead time. We went through arguments, good times, bad times - it was a struggle - but in the end Lean and our people's minds prevailed.


  • There is a long lead time in engineering which needs understanding
  • To implement takt, flow and pull
  • To understand the process of engineering
  • To develop 30/60/90 day action plan


  • Created a SIPOC diagram depicting the scope of the engineering process
  • Developed a Swim Lane diagram to show the many handoffs between the players
  • Current state mapped the engineering process, calculated takt
  • Differentiated between value-add and non-value added processes
  • Constructed a 90 day future state map and a 30/60/90 day action plan


  • It is worth shutting down Engineering for 6hrs in a day to focus and keep focus on the current and future state.
  • Team buy in is key to successful implementation of lean changes.
  • 30/60/90 days actions must be concise and measurable.
  • Defining value added and non value added work within Engineering environment must be done carefully as people do not really grasp the idea.


  • Developed a 30/60/90 day action plan• Reduced the process from a 20-step to a 16-step
  • Potential cycle-time reduction of 8hrs
  • Reduced WIP in the system from unlimited to less than 5 pieces of work per engineer, thus reducing the queue time by approximately 50% (will be revisited in approximately 1 month to document the reduction in lead time)
  • Reduction in lead time is expected, however not verified yet
  • Training on the various tools used, with special focus on takt, flow and pull


  • WIP boards were created which show what job is on who’s desk and at what stepof the process with one glance; work priorities are set during each team’s shift start meeting
  • KPI boards for each team within engineering – with metrics that make sense to the teams – will begin measuring utilization
  • A prototype pull system to be implemented 12/06/06


  • Value stream map was an eye opener for the team. Looking at number of steps, work checking, number of defects and inventories at each desk were invisible in the past.
  • Future state discussions led to focused attention on areas of concerns and requiring immediate improvement.

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