MBOE recap: The cold, harsh reality of the value stream map

Google “value stream map” and you’ll get about 5 million hits. You can read as much as you want on it, but the only way to truly learn is by doing one – and in my experience, you learn more with each new map. Learning to See, co-authored by lean guru John Shook, gave our MBOE students this past week a prime on the value stream map, and in class, they learned much more about the five components to one: Customer, Supplier, Process Steps, Process Metrics and Information Flow.

So why should one care about mapping a value stream? For starters, it helps you answer a ton of questions about what you do day in and day out. Just a sample:

  • Are you producing to takt (customer demand), creating more than is needed or you are so slow?
  • How are you balancing supply with demand?
  • Do you have too many, too few or just the right amount of people doing the work?
  • Are there wastes in the process?
  • Are people undergoing unnecessary movements to get materials or information to do the work?
  • How do all the steps communicate with each other?

A value stream map gives you a snapshot of your process in a given time period. It tells you how much of the process you are studying is actually value adding. It might be shocking for someone mapping the first time to find out that more than 90% of the work they do is non-value added.

Here’s an example of that: Executive in Residence Gary Butler this past week told of his first encounter with MBOE Sensei Paul Kerry, a coach in our program. Kerry asked Butler and his executive team to tell him about their expenses, and Butler explained it by making the drawing above.

Kerry turned around and drew what he said was the reality of the business, which you’ll see below. A value stream map gives you a new lens through which you can look at your business. And what you see isn’t always pretty.

S&OP takes center stage at Link Symposium

Despite a blustery, snowy day that slowed traffic in Columbus to a crawl on Friday, nearly two-dozen industry professionals from Center for Operational Excellence member companies joined Fisher faculty and staff for our second-annual “world café”-style discussion event.

COE OLMA World Cafe Link Symposium
Students, faculty and industry professionals gathered key points during the discussions on boards placed throughout the Blackwell Ballroom.

Dubbed the Link Symposium this year and co-sponsored by Fisher’s Operations and Logistics Management Association, the event brought together about 60 faculty, students and industry professionals for a deep dive into the topic of Sales & Operations Planning. Faculty facilitators covered topics ranging from demand management and project management to forecasting and enterprise resource planning. Much like last year, the clock ticks for each discussion table and when time runs out, groups scramble and reform at different stations. Get a look at the event by viewing a slide show here.

The discussions wrapped with a report-out run by students, who once again demonstrated a remarkable ability to synthesize a great deal of information about a critical aspect of process excellence.

Jen Barlette, an MBA student and managing director of OLMA, said this year’s event was a “great success.”

“We had even bigger participation than last year and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “The OLMA executive team is looking forward to coming back as industry participants at an even better event next year.”

Check out OLMA on its Facebook page here.

COE’s ‘world café’ event going for round two

Last February, the Center for Operational Excellence teamed up with Fisher’s Operations and Logistics Management Association for its first-ever attempt at a “world café”-style event. For a few hours, we brought together COE members, Fisher students and faculty to tackle the topic of logistics in an actionable way – with a catch. The clock ticks during discussion sessions at each table, and when it runs out the groups scramble.

Last year’s World Cafe attracted dozens of industry leaders,

The first time out of the gate, the event was a huge success – and that’s why we’re hosting it again this year. Next Friday, Jan. 25, we’re hosting what we’re calling a Link Symposium, and while the name and the chief topic have changed, the format’s all the same. The spotlight this year will be turned on sales and operations planning.

Move around the tables, meet students and faculty and watch as our best and brightest at Fisher give report-outs on key takeaways from each subtopic. We’re also capping off the event with a networking period to give our attendees a chance to chat without the pressure of time.

Seats are still available – so join us by registering here.



Registration opens for COE’s 2013 summit

The wait is over, folks.

The Center for Operational Excellence this week opened registration for its Leading Through Excellence summit, which we first announced about a year ago. This first-ever multi-day event for COE will take place on Aprill 11-12, 2013, and we’re also loading up buses for optional plant tours the day before kickoff, April 10.

Leading Through Excellence is more than just a first for us. It will be, without question, the single largest event we’ve ever hosted, blending the expertise of our Fisher College of Business faculty with outside process improvement experts. And last but not least, as the keynote speaker for our conference, we’re hosting Charles Duhigg, a New York Times reporter who made his way onto his own employer’s bestseller list last year by writing a great book called The Power of Habit.

Over the next three months, you’ll read a lot about the summit and The Power of Habit on this blog and our event site. But right now, join the crowd and register. Anyone to sign up before Feb. 27 will receive a 5% early-bird discount off the $395 member rate or $595 non-member rate, while registrations of five people or more at any time before the summit will trigger an additional 5% savings.  Plant tours, which will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis, cost only an additional $25 and cover your boxed lunch and transportation.

To put it bluntly, the summit is a steal. Not only does your registration fee cover meals and admission to Duhigg’s keynote on the summit’s second and final day, but you can attend up to four workshops, simulations and case studies throughout the day on Thursday, April 11. I’m also leaving out a pre-kickoff reception on Wednesday and, on Thursday, an exclusive tour of Ohio Stadium and a visit from a Buckeye legend. What’s more, we’ve reserved a block of hotel rooms at the Blackwell Inn to give out-out-town guests a discounted stay.

This is a great, low-priced opportunity to engage in a hands-on, MBA-esque experience that we’re shaping to give you access to great ideas you can apply directly to your organization.  Tell your colleagues and be sure to join us.

Happy New Year from COE

The Center for Operational Excellence entered its 21st year of existence in 2013, but it’s unlikely this year will be anything like what you’ve experienced before. At the top of the list for why is our Leading Through Excellence summit, which begins in little more than three months and marks the first-ever multi-day event for the center.

My task board is filling up already in the “Backlog,” “WIP” and “Done” columns.

On a smaller scale, we’re running the same busy slate of programming as usual but making some great changes to respond to member demand and keep things fresh. You can check out the first of those, also our first official event of the year, in little more than three weeks when we host our second-annual Link Symposium, which we ran last year under the guise of a “world café.” If you have a thing or two to say about sales and operations planning, you should join us by registering now.

Later on down the road, we’re offering a look at doing business in India, following up on our successful Business in Brazil forum last spring, and continuing our slate of lean IT forums. You’ll hear more about speakers for those events in the next few months and can take a peek at our other events in 2013 here.

As for COE’s resolution for 2013, we’re committed to practice more of what we preach, improving the processes we have in place for the events you attend and the connections you make. I took my own long-overdue stab at it around the holidays by creating a task board, inspired by a recentgemba to COE member Nationwide Insurance. Now, every day, looking down at me from above my screens, is a backlog, a WIP area and, best of all, a “Done” column. Just a few days in and I’m already enjoying moving those Post-Its.

Have something for my task board – or your own resolution to share? Drop it in the comments.