I was working with a new customer who has been implementing lean for some years but just starting using our Areteium lean transformation software. They have a complex operation with lots of cells in a high mix environment and because there’s so much variation in their products, they have found that data integrity is a big challenge. Their bills of material and routings are managed in their ERP. It’s easy to display a single bill of material or an indented bill of material. It’s easy to display a single routing. They have a centrally managed database. All the data is there. Yet they still struggle with data. Why?
What’s missing is a comprehensive and visual view of their data. They imported their bills and routes into Areteium and generated a value stream map for the entire product family. Their value stream map is complex but accurately and visually displays their bills and routings. Here is just a small portion of the generated value stream map. As you can see, there’s a lot going on:
Just looking at the value stream map, the Manufacturing Engineer saw immediately that these material flows were wrong since nothing coming out of Wire goes anywhere other than into a Chassis process next. There were routings missing. In other situations, components were sent to processes that made no sense. In that case, bills of material were wrong. For thousands of products there was no problem but for the few products with routing or bill problems, the issue jumped out at them visually. Since you can see the items involved just by moving your mouse over the material flow, it was quick to identify the items, adjust the routing or bill and regenerate the map to confirm. Regenerating their entire value stream map took under 5 minutes. Areteium helps identify data integrity issues including reports for missing routings and consolidated views showing the bill and route together with phantom levels highlighted.
The visual nature of value stream mapping brings out the connections. That’s why it’s essential to take a cross-functional team to the floor to trace the material movement through processes. But traditional value stream mapping with sticky notes on a wall and talking with shop floor associates will never surface these individual data issues. There’s way too much data.
When you surface data issues visually based on the details of your bills and routes from your ERP, finding the data integrity needles in the database haystack just became far easier. I’d say that’s Visual Master Data Management.
Written by Phil Coy
Director, Strategic Services – mcaConnect