Value Stream Mapping for Operational Excellence

One of the enablers for any organization for their Lean journey is Value Stream Mapping (VSM). VSM is an end-to-end collection of processes that creates value for the customer. This includes people, tools, technologies, physical facilities, communication channels, policies and procedures. By doing VSM, the team can:

  1. Describe the flow of material and information through the production system
  2. Graphically portray the process to see where value is added and where value is lost
  3. Visually allow the team to see where costs can be reduced and improvements can be made
  4. Grasp the current state and vision-out the future state of the processes wherein wasted steps will be left out and when continuous flow and pull production will be introduced.

Compared to Process Mapping, VSM will enable teams to plan their long term strategy.

When you utilize VSM, you are focusing on “Value”. But how do we define “Value”? Let us put things in proper perspective. When we say Value, it means that it is the reason of customers for purchasing or buying products. Value speaks of the fulfillment of customer requirements.

Doing VSM in conjunction with the thinking process and waste elimination, we can foresee how our processes will operate at an optimal level.

VSM process starts with a Current-State Assessment, then with a Future Assessment and then with the Next future state. Assessments are a never-ending cycle. Buoyant people would look at Assessment as a method for continually improving the process and cultivating a culture focused on breakthrough improvements.

VSM will allow everyone to see the wastes and plan to eliminate those. VSM can strengthen the gains by providing vision and plans that will eventually connect all improvement activities in the organization.

The five simple principles applied for utilizing the VSM are:

  1. Specify value from the customer standpoint
  2. Identify the value stream for each product family
  3. Make the product flow
  4. So the customer can pull
  5. As you manage toward perfection

As we continue our journey for operational excellence, VSM will make any organization globally competitive by shifting from a corrective to a preventive culture.

– Sonny Tapia, Senior Process Consultant, ECC International


IT Governance – What’s It All About and How Can It Benefit Organizations

IT Governance – the buzz topic that many people in computing now mention in almost every conference, journal or IT Publications. So for a moment, just consider, what is IT Governance and why is it so important to you and your business?

There are many pressures on businesses these days to find the most cost and time efficient way to service customers. However, when it comes to modifying the behaviors of both individuals and of established business processes, this can be a challenge.

Often, the management team of companies are subject to the pressure of demonstrating to investors that the organization is well run and is capable of delivering maximum returns to shareholders and customers. Simultaneously, external agencies including government offices now expect companies to meet ongoing regulatory and governance directives to show that business and IT compliance requirements are being met.

These business drivers in turn place a range of pressures on the IT systems that support business processes.

In this article, we will go some way to explaining how IT Governance  is the answer to these burning questions.

IT governance framework is a discipline that involves managing people, processes and resources. Ultimately, it is about aligning the organization’s IT goals with its business goals to ensure optimum and uninterrupted service delivery. There are fundamental processes that need to be in place and companies who implement such IT governance solutions and procedures always benefit from knowing what they have, who is using the resources, why they are using the resources whether resources are being used in the most time- and cost-effective methods.

Several methodologies have been designed to help management structure and formalize the IT Governance framework which can help alleviate the pressure to:

  1.     Aid in aligning IT with the organizational goals and strategy.
  2.     Raise the profile of IT.
  3.     Aid in project and portfolio management.
  4.     Reduce IT risk.
  5.     Aid in IT strategic planning.
  6.     Aid in performance measurement.
  7.     Aid in embedding IT into the organization’s culture.
  8.     Aid in demand management (demand for IT’s services by other departments)
  9.     Optimize IT operations.
  10.     Increase project visibility.

In the next article, I will be discussing the best practices around implementing IT Governance Frameworks and ways of effectively choosing and implementing them for tasting the business benefits.

-Sree Krishna, Delivery Manager, ECCI