by Mike Rother and John Shook
Forward by Jim Womack and Dan Jones
Learning to See is perhaps the best instruction manual for implementing a Lean transformation on the manufacturing plant floor.
The authors take you step-by-step through a process, paving the way to improvement. Value Stream Mapping (VSM) comes first. By creating the Current State Value Stream Map (CS VSM), the new lean practitioner learns how to see the flow and the Muda (waste) in the current process. Muda is anything that impedes or halts flow, thus wasting chronological time.
The CS VSM is analyzed to identify Muda and the opportunities for improvement. The process is redesigned by generating a Future State Value Stream Map (FS VSM), a one-page plan for the new process. On the FS VSM, small starburst cloud icons indicate all the Kaizen-burst mini-projects which must be executed to transform the CS VSM (existing process) into the FS VSM (new streamlined process).
The FS VSM showing the Kaizen-burst mini-projects becomes the project management master plan for continuous improvement, providing the context for meaningful Point Kaizen events. Achieving the Lean Transformation is hard work, but this instruction manual contains all the information needed to accomplish the task.
If you are going to buy just one book about Lean, this is the one. Although Learning to See focuses on material flow in a manufacturing process, the principles and analysis methods can be applied to any workflow.
Andy Pattantyus, CPIM is president of Strategic Modularity, Inc., a systems engineering consulting firm, which works with clients on process oriented Lean Transformation projects, including initiatives to improve administrative workflows. Andy is also an active member of APICS-SFV and The ACA Group. Contact Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org