Silviu's value stream mapping simulation is a computer-based activity. Similar to the Lean Bicycle Factory, this one shows a graphical representation of a manufacturing facility. There are several departments: cutting, milling, and lathe.
Note: This simulation is no longer available at the links given...Good things never last.
|Crisp graphics show the operators moving at each station|
Each process has a defined cycle time, but they're not all the same! And since the work cells are interlinked, inventory builds up in between each one. The screen shot above doesn't really do it justice. Once you see it running for yourself, you will love the slick movement of each little machine. You can watch the simulation run for days. Inventory builds up and and is graphically represented by a little bar before and after each station.
The beautiful thing about this simulation is that everything is adjustable!
|All process parameters can be changed.|
So what use is this simulation, other than to mesmerize yourself?
This value stream mapping simulation is perfect for value stream mapping training. By putting it up on a big screen, you can show the different stations, how the process flows, and where inventory builds up. You can enter parameters based on your group's discussion.
Not only does it show the process time vs wait time on the bottom of the simulation...
. . . it also gives you a full-fledged Value Stream Map to go along with the simulation.
this value stream mapping video and my post full of value stream map examples.
Now be forewarned. There's a lot going on in this simulation and it's hard to follow the flow at first. Inventory is tracked with those green bars, but disappears from one station to reappear at the next. But since they are not in logical order (what current state is?!), it can be a challenge to understand how the product is flowing.
Since this is a value stream map simulation, one could just follow the value stream map. So, after watching the simulation for an hour, trying to wrap my head around the flow, I decided to refer to the value stream map, which clarified the process flow. Still, I was having trouble seeing it, particularly where the inventory was stored between cells and in the supermarkets. A little confusing, like most production plants!
After watching this for awhile, I made this little diagram to help me out, since inventory appears and disappears pretty fast. Note that material handlers are moving batches of 20 at a time. If you decide to work with this simulation, I hope this little diagram will help.
|Look at this messy flow!|
Where can you get your hands on this simulation?
You could do what I did and post in the linkedin thread. Silviu will send you a zipped file with everything you need to run this simulation on your own computer.
Or you can venture over to simando.com, where you can find a web-based version of the simulation. To be honest, I am a little wary about installing software on my machine, so I only tried the web-based version. It was more than sufficient and ran without any lagging. If want to run it without being tied to the Internet, you might want to install the software.
If you decide to give this a spin, please come back and tell me what you think. Is it useful for training or a little too cumbersome? What do you think?
I've added this Value Stream Mapping Simulation to my monster list of free lean games and simulations.