Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Excel Yamazumi Chart - Some serious charting.


I've been thinking a lot about Yamazumi charts lately. After posting about a pretty cool online Yamazumi chart last week, I did some sleuthing. It's true that more and more of my time is spent "connected", so it's refreshing to see people creating web-based tools that we can use without downloading anything.

But I find when it comes to the heavy lifting, I still revert back to good ol' Microsoft.

MS Excel has been around since 1987 according to Wikipedia. That's enough time for people to create all kinds of awesome stuff! Take this amazing Excel Yamazumi chart, for example:



excel yamazumi chart


Is it just me, or does a chart like this make everyone else giddy too?

This Excel Yamazumi chart has all the bells and whistles! 

First, the basics: 
A Yamazumi chart lines up all the operations and charts them side-by-side. Each operation is clearly shown in comparison to the others. In the example above, we have seven operations.

With a single glance, some balance issues are clear. The third operation (Buff Three Parts) is the quickest, at about 23 seconds, while the fifth operation (Attach Bracket) takes the longest. Operator three will have some idle time, while operator five will struggle to keep up. Without inventory limits , parts will build up quickly after 3 and 4.

All this is simple to see within a quick 10 second analysis, showing the power of a simple Yamazumi chart.

Second, the takt time is clearly displayed as a dotted line along the top. Once again, it is clear without any indepth analysis that there are some operations which are greater than the takt time, creating a potential for short shipments.

Actually, upon closer inspection at the actual formulas in the Excel sheet, the dotted line turns out to be mean cycle time, not the takt time. Average cycle time is not quite as useful, but formulas are easy to adjust, and the sheet is not locked, so it's dead easy to change this.

These two things give us the basic Yamazumi features. But there's more...

Let's look at some of the advanced chart features:

excel yamazumi chart breakdown
Operations 3-5

Above is a close-up of Operations 3-5. We can see details of the operation with the least work vs the one with the most work. These details are inside each bar! Each bar in the bar chart contains the entire sequence of steps that make up the process. Voila! This Yamazumi is a "stacked bar" chart.

Why is a stacked bar chart helpful?

A Yamazumi chart is also called a work balance chart for a reason. When it's time to balance this inefficient process, we can easily see how long the individual steps for each process take. Looking at the chart, we can propose taking some steps from #5 and adding them to # 3, to give us a much more balanced process.

Realistically, we would need to go to the gemba and verify.

For example, is it possible to "Apply First Label" in a different operation, so that operator # 5 has less work? It all depends on what the label looks like, where on the part it has to be applied, if any other operation depends on it, or if something else needs to happen first.

A Yamazumi chart will highlight potential, but a trip to the gemba will reveal truth. 

Finally, this particular Yamazumi chart has another interesting feature, usually found on Value Stream Maps. Each step has a label applied to it. Is the activity "Value-added", "Non-value added", or simply straight up "Waste?"

value added pie chart

These labels allow us to visualize more nifty things. Underneath each bar, there's a little pie chart that shows the percentage of value added versus non-value added activity. Our job as lean champions is to attack waste, and these small dials make it easy to see where to focus. A nice little kaizen to the Yamazumi chart!

Are you interested in an Excel Yamazumi chart like this? You should be!

I'm sad to say that I didn't make this Excel file, but the good news is that it's free and available for download at adaptivebms.com. Someone put a lot of work into this sheet, so why recreate it?

Also, you can find a whole range of other Excel templates on the adaptivebms tools page, including a 5S audit sheet, a red tag template, ishikawa diagram and tons of statistical tools!

I've added this tool to my list of free lean tools and downloads.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Online Yamazumi Charts - Find Balance in Your Work

I love Yamazumi charts! I'm a geek, so I think all charts are pretty cool, but Yamazumi charts are awesome because they have the best sounding name! Yamazumi charts are often called work balance charts, but come on. . . this is one time where the Japanese name wins, hands down!

awesome yamazumi chart

What the heck is a Yamazumi Chart?

A yamazumi chart takes the entire process and breaks down the individual work tasks by station. It's essentially a bar graph, where each bar represents an operation. By visualizing all the tasks side by side, it's easy to identify bottlenecks and look for balancing opportunities.

The vertical axis is a time measurement, usually in seconds. A standard time, generally takt time, is also plotted on the graph. While yamazumi charts can be used for training, they're most often used during process design, line balancing activities and waste elimination kaizens.

A standard bar chart is a great illustrative tool to show the state of the entire process. But often a stacked bar chart is used to show the work elements within each step. Yamazumi is Japanese for "stack up," and when you're digging deeper into the process, a stacked bar chart is helpful to see what elements can be moved to create a better balance.

Online Yamazumi Chart

Lean Lab has developed an online version of a Yamazumi chart. It's pretty neat! If you're tired of Excel charts and want a little different look, the graphics are cool. And if your computer is an Internet-enabled tablet, you can just bring this up on the web and enter the times right at the gemba!

On the left side is the input table, with a place for naming each operation and the takt time. I created a fictitious process to generate the chart below. As you can see, I'm in danger of shorting the customer!

yamazumi chart
My sample process is NOT good enough. Gluing takes too long!

Lean Lab has put together a few other lean tools, including a web-based Takt Time Calculator, I posted about before. They also have an excel version of the Yamazumi chart:  Excel Yamazumi Chart

If you're looking for more lean tools like this, check out my full list of free lean resources in the sidebar.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lean Project Management - Pen and Paper Game

Ever get the feeling that you're juggling too many things at once? Sometimes I feel like I'm getting a lot done, but at the end of the day, I've just done a little bit of everything, and not completed a single thing.

Certainly, when we all do our piece, it makes big jobs smaller and we can eventually get everything done. 

But is breaking up tasks and multitasking the most efficient way to manage projects?

According to the Multitasking Name Game, focusing on one thing at a time is more efficient. Or you can try your odds at the Multitasking Test, if you think you're an expert at juggling multiple things! 

But first, you can check out the simulation below.

I found this simulation on Slideshare that illustrates the inefficiencies in managing multiple projects at the same time. It's actually a simple pen and paper lean simulation that you can do yourself, or with a group. 

lean pen and paper game

There are three projects in this game, indicated by three columns written on one page:
  1. Writing letters in blue marker.
  2. Writing Roman numerals in red marker.
  3. Writing numbers in black marker. 
  • Step One: Complete one row at a time, writing one letter from each column. This simulates working on all three projects simultaneously. With a stopwatch, time how long it takes to complete all three columns and each one.
  • Step Two: Write each column at a time, completing the blue first, then the red and finally the black. Again, time how long it takes to complete each column and the entire page.


I think you can see where this is going. . .

The slide show below simulates the whole activity, without you having to lift a marker or three! Just click the arrow to go from slide to slide.




Numbers simulation - less is more! from Marcus Hammarberg

I think this little simulation is perfect to show how transactional work or office work can be made more efficient. It's also perfect for design activities, where specific steps need to be completed before the whole project can move forward. Everyone can focus to get that next step completed, like the way kanban is used  in software development.

And here's a youtube video showing the same game in action:




For more lean games and simulations like this, check my large collection of lean simulations!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Variations of the Lean Penny Game

The Penny Game is a simple lean game I've written about before. For the low price of 20 cents, you can teach lean. The Penny Game shows how small batches are more efficient using 20 coins.

In the last few months, I've come across a few variations and tweaks of the basic game.

First, Jim Ralston presents a streamlined and updated variation of the Penny game on his blog. He describes it as a "Kool-Aid", meaning this game will quickly win converts to lean! Drink the Kool-Aid and join us!

In Jim's version, there's no change to the actual method. You still flip pennies over in batches and pass them to the next person. But he's made it more relevant to software development by assigning specific roles to each participant. There's a designer, developer, tester and scrum master. And, of course, there's a customer!

This variation shows how easy it is to take a simple game and make it your own. By tweaking the Penny Game descriptions, Jim has made it easier for people in his particular business to drink the lean Kool-Aid. If you're in the software biz, it may be worth your time to download Jim's role diagram below and check out his analysis on his site.

If you're not into software, take a cue from Jim and tweak it to your own process.



Next is something a little more in depth. How about a 173 page slide show of the Penny Game in action?

The slideshare embedded below is perfect for anyone that wants to get a feel for the Penny Game, but doesn't have a group to try it on. After the introductory pages, each slide represents one flip or move of a penny. This way you can scroll through them and see how the game works, step by painstaking step. If you go really fast, it almost looks like it's animated, like a flip book.

Before trying out the Penny Game with your group, it's worth giving this slideshare a quick flip through, and see the difference smaller batches make.







For more lean games and simulations like this, check out my huge page of free lean games!