Understanding the value of lean measurement is fundamental knowledge that must be developed along a lean journey. We live and work in a world full of things that can be sampled and observed. The effective lean practitioner understands that measuring the performance of the work world through data collection always gives the most accurate understanding of true current condition. Measurement allows progress to be tracked and allows results to be confirmed. Effective, useful lean measurements support continuous improvement and problem solving. Typically, the challenge in creating good measurements is understanding what can be measured and how to go about measuring. The goal of this module is to present lean practitioners with a tool kit for understanding what to measure, how to organize the data, how to interpret the data in meaningful ways, and how to use lean measurements to drive ongoing lean activities.
The first section in the lean measurement module focuses on the concept of ‘Key Point Indicators’ (KPIs). Discussion topics include what these indicators are, how to develop them, data collection, and how to visualize the information. KPI analysis delves into some light discussion of statistical methods in relation to understanding when problems become significant.
This is a brief section reviewing the lean metrics of yield and defect rates. The focus is on contrasting the traditional methods of thinking about yield and defect with the lean concepts approach of understanding the true big picture. In a lean manufacturing or production context, when working with yield and defect rates, data collection drives continuous improvement.
The final section in the Lean Measurement Module covers a mapping process known as MiFLOW. This technique is used to capture current condition status of a value stream (production line, office process, etc.) in order to understand and identify problems and waste. This type of lean measurement system is critical to monitor process improvements, understand the true ideal condition, communicate status to team members, and help focus kaizen activities.