Storage Systems

Reaping the Benefits of Value Stream Mapping

Take a moment to consider all the tasks in your company.  Firstly, are they co-ordinated perfectly?  Second of all, do they occur at exactly the right time?  Next, do they deliver your product or service to the right customer?  Finally, do you deliver your products or services on time, every time and in perfect condition?  In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of Value Stream Mapping to your organisation.

Certainly, some organisations understand Lean.  They understand how all of their tasks work together to provide value to their customers.  This does not happen by accident.  Actually, they are the result of a very conscious awareness.  In reality, every activity is a process.  They are activities that involve materials and information.  Certainly, these flow through a series of well-connected processes delivering a product or service to a specific customer.  In short, this is call the Value Stream.  A Value Stream Map (VSM) is the graphical visual representation of the value stream.  In addition, the VSM identifies 3 states of processes.  They are the:

  1. Current state.
  2. Ideal state.
  3. Future state.

Most importantly, the VSM is always viewed from the customer’s point of view.  In analysing the value stream, you start where the stream ends (the customer).  Then, you track it all the way back to the smallest tributary (the source of the raw materials).

Likewise, everyone in the company has a role to play in the value stream.  So, each person has a responsibility to know how their job contributes to deliver value to the customer in the most efficient way.

Storage Systems Pallet Racking

Storage Systems

Storage Systems worked with us at the DCC LEO (Dublin City Council Local Enterprise Office) Lean Business Programme in March 2019.

They wanted to make improvements to their sales order flow process.  Consequently, they used VSM to provide value to their customers.

By way of background, this company specialise in the design, supply and installation of storage equipment.  Their clients include the industrial and commercial sectors.  Founded in 1976, they are Ireland’s largest storage equipment company.  They have over 30 full time staff.  In addition, their offices are based in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast.  This company provide storage solutions including consultancy, planning, installation and maintenance for a warehouse distribution centre.  Finally, they provide shelving for hospitals, museums, offices and libraries.

During Covid 19, they have continued to operate normally with their online ordering system.  Indeed, they have taken all precautionary measures to protect their customers, staff and surrounding communities.  With over 9,000 products online, they have pivoted their business to now selling social distancing solutions.  These include anti-bacterial shelving and staff lockers as well as protective screens, floor mats and floor marking.

Value Stream Map

Sales Order Flow Process

First of all, the business identified a number of issues regarding their sales order process.  Actually, they wanted to streamline the process from order intake to installation on the customer’s site.  By using value stream mapping, the business analysed certain processes.  These included sales, design, order entry and contracts management.

We set up a Kaizen event with the team to document all issues.  Next, we mapped the process from quotation to delivery of the product to the customer.  Subsequently, their current situation revealed that there was:

  • Too much paperwork.
  • Inconsistent information.
  • Very little communication and co-operation between team members (waiting on dockets, waiting for drawings or information from suppliers), wrong materials or parts ordered or delivered.
  • Lack of ownership of tasks (sales person agreeing unrealistic installation dates with client).
  • Lack of control which had a significant impact on customer support, finance and sales teams.

Online Sales System

In addition, it became clear that the company needed an online system to capture all data and enquiries.  Automatic notifications would mean less duplication of emails and phone calls from the sales team to the client.  Consequently, Value Stream Mapping helped the company to standardise their processes.

  • All sales and engineering documentation and customer contact are contained in an online format.  This is accessible to all relevant staff.
  • The Sales Team have now provided mandatory pre-defined information .
  • The Installation Team now manage the installation dates with the client.
  • Each Project Owner drives the team meetings.  In addition, these meetings only focus on the issues requiring support.
  • By analysing their value stream map, the company now have a sales order process. It is easy to follow and more customer-focused.  Finally, it gives more responsibility to the individual team members.

You may be interested in applying Lean thinking to your business and putting these ideas into practice?

Click here to contact the team at ETAC or enquire about our next Lean Business programme.

We hope you enjoyed reading about our client Storage Systems and how they are reaping the benefits of Value Stream Mapping.  You may also be interested in reading about our insights on our Lean Approach to Business Improvement and McNally Joinery: Transforming the Business One Step at a Time.  All our blogs are available to read here.  Please connect with us on Linkedin and Twitter.