Are You as Productive as You Want To Be?

by James P. Tate on September 6, 2016

Every manager or business owner struggles with this question.  You strive to build a successful business and grow the capabilities of our department, division or company.  A key objective is to increase your productivity by producing more output with fewer inputs, or at least with the same inputs.  This is basic capitalism and is at the heart of every success operation.

Now, I have to ask the question again:  Are you as productive as you want to be?  Is there room for improvement?  Is your department or business able to withstand a competitor who is making the same product as a lower cost?  If you are unsure of the answer to this question, what are you going to do about it?

One of the best and fastest ways to assess your productivity (both plant operations and office processes) is to utilize the Value Stream Mapping Process (VSM).  The VSM is an excellent tool for analyzing a process flow.  It is easy to implement a Value Stream Map, shows a tremendous amount of information.  This data will show work-in-process levels, wasteful wait times in the process stream, manning levels, set- up times, information flow, quality and rework issues, and other delays in the flow stream.

The team that would create your VSM is quick to deploy.  A team of 5-10 individuals can, with proper training, complete a VSM for an entire plant in a week of work.  This VSM process would not disrupt the production flow.  The training for a VSM team can be completed in 3 days.

The end result of this VSM will be plenty of opportunities to make meaningful improvements to the process fowl.  A relatively small amount of effort to complete a VSM will yield a large amount of useful information.  In fact, in many cases in my experience, the opportunities are so good and so plentiful they require a cost benefit measure to help prioritize the changes to be made.  The VSM is a lost cost way to evaluate the productivity of your operations.  What are you waiting for?

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