Learning to See: Value Stream Mapping to Add Value and Eliminate Muda

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Lean Enterprise Institute, 2003 - Business & Economics - 102 pages
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Much more important, these simple maps - often drawn on scrap paper - showed where steps could be eliminated, flows smoothed, and pull systems introduced in order to create a truly lean value stream for each product family.

In 1998 John teamed with Mike Rother of the University of Michigan to write down Toyota's mapping methodology for the first time in Learning to See. This simple tool makes it possible for you to see through the clutter of a complex plant. You'll soon be able to identify all of the processing steps along the path from raw materials to finished goods for each product and all of the information flows going back from the customer through the plant and upstream to suppliers. With this knowledge in hand it is much easier to envision a "future state" for each product family in which wasteful actions are eliminated and production can be pulled smoothly ahead by the customer.

In plain language and with detailed drawings, this workbook explains everything you will need to know to create accurate current-state and future- state maps for each of your product families and then to turn the current state into the future state rapidly and sustainably.

In Learning to See you will find:

  • A foreword by Jim Womack and Dan Jones explaining the need for this tool.
  • An introduction by Mike Rother and John Shook describing how they discovered the mapping tool in their study of Toyota.
  • Guidance on identifying your product families.
  • A detailed explanation of how to draw a current-state map.
  • A practice case permitting you to draw a current-state map on your own, with feedback from Mike and John in the appendix on how you did.
  • A detailed explanation of how to draw a future-state map.
  • A second practice case permitting you to draw a future-state map, with "the answer" provided in the appendix.
  • Guidance on how to designate a manager for each value stream.
  • Advice on breaking implementation into easy steps.
  • An explanation of how to use the yearly value stream plan to guide each product family through successive future states.

More than 50,000 copies of Learning to See have been sold in the past two years. Readers from across the world report that value stream mapping has been an invaluable tool to start their lean transformation and to make the best use of kaizen events.


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This is the book that taught the world - Value Stream Mapping. A great classic. Recommended for all intrested in learning about VSM.



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About the author (2003)

Mike Rother is an engineer, researcher and teacher who authored the bestselling books Learning to See and Toyota Kata. He works to develop scientific thinking in individuals, teams and organizations, shares his findings widely, and has been inducted into the Association of Manufacturing Excellence Hall of Fame.

Gerd Aulinger is a researcher, speaker and management coach who helps leaders develop their people's improvement skills as they simultaneously improve the flow of value to their customers. He views the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata as part of a holistic management system and is motivated by the way it generates collective experimentation toward challenging strategic goals.

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