Manufacturing – Process Value Stream Case Study

Manufacturing – Process Value Stream Case Study

By: Jim Gitney   |     January 26, 2023
  1. Identified $4.9M in process improvement savings, a 17% productivity improvement
  2. Increased throughput between 25 and 100%
  3. Increased First Pass Yields between 15 and 60%
  4. Redesigned multiple workstations and processes




A multinational consumer products company needed to improve its manufacturing processes prior to moving into a new building. Group50® Consulting was asked to review each of 11 manufacturing departments, validate time standards, review material flow and make recommendations on how to improve throughput, increase quality and reduce cost.

Solution Approach

The 11 manufacturing departments included woodworking, milling, machining, buff and polish, paint, sub assembly, final assembly and test. In order to meet the requirements of the SOW, we needed to do an operational analysis of each department. The analysis included:

  • Motion and time studies utilizing videos
  • Value stream mapping of the processes in each department
  • Analysis of quality, first pass yield and throughput data
  • Material flow (spaghetti) diagrams
  • Workstation design analysis 

The report out for each area included a numerical analysis of the department performance, comparison of existing time standards to observed actuals, workstation design improvements, automation recommendations, material and workflow change recommendations and other items of interest.


We identified the Most Important Goal of manufacturing operations at this campus of 4 buildings was to increase throughput 100% over the next 3 years. We used that as our litmus test for all recommendations. Detailed reports were done for each of the 11 areas. This case study will not detail each department but summarize our general findings. 

We found that each department had been allowed to deviate from the original workflow design as they implemented what the department heads viewed as improvements. In our work we found the following:

  1. Work standards that existed were not being followed, although 25 hours of video time studies indicated that the standard work was well defined by engineering.
  2. Workstation instructions and quality instructions were not created and/or not followed by operations. There were no visual aids on the shop floor.
  3. Work cells were not balanced.
  4. Visual management was not implemented to manage throughput, quality and productivity.
  5. Quality inspections were based on “tribal knowledge” and not based on acceptable quality standards.
  6. Scheduling was done by units and not by capacity in any of the areas which often caused departments to be scheduled over capacity.
  7. First pass yields varied from 25% to 80%.
  8. Workstation designs needed to be updated with new fixtures, tooling, lighting and equipment. Operators were using different methods for the same process in a cell. There was little standardization.
  9. Existing automation was not maintained properly and was underutilized.
  10. Parts were not tracked which resulted in components that didn’t have associated parts to complete a unit totaling over one week’s production, requiring remakes of mating parts.
  11. There was little training available for new hires in some areas which had 100% annual turnover.


Our recommendations identified multiple opportunities in each one of the areas which totaled over $4.9 in annual savings representing a 17% improvement in productivity. Because of the uniqueness of the operations in each department, we created programs for each one with specific goals and objectives. The recommendations included but were not limited to:

  1. Develop 8-hour shift TAKT times for each production area based on increments of 250 units –  i.e.  500, 750, 1,000, 1,250
    1. Focus on total TAKT times for each product family.
  2. Utilizing Kaizen events in each department, redesign each work cell and workstation designs to balance the lines and meet 500 base units.
    1. Create training programs.
  3. Create layouts for each work cell that would allow for the addition of workstations and buffer racks to increase production in increments of 250 which would provide scalability without major redesign of the facility.
    1. Write workstation and quality instructions.
    2. Implement visual management.
    3. 5S station design, work areas, floor markings.
  4. Implement automation and cobotics (human assist robotics) recommendations in several areas to reduce operator fatigue and turnover.
  5. Prioritize work area redesigns based on cost improvement opportunities.
    1. Final Assembly
    2. Buff and Polish
    3. Paint
    4. Mills
  6. Modify planning algorithms for paint.
    1. Paint schedule based on # of coats required during a day, not units.
    2. Schedule various components for an order (which had differing cycle times) to come out of paint at the same time.
    3. Utilize an IoT platform and low energy blue tooth tags to track components through the curing process and improve the ability of the operations team to find those matching components in the facility.

We created an implementation roadmap for these recommendations that allowed the operations team to realize all improvements within a 12-week period. Included in this roadmap were recommendations on how to reduce turnover on the shop floor through the use of cobotics and other operator aids at various workstations.

To talk to a Group50® Consulting expert in Lean Business and Process Reengineering call (909) 949-9083, send a note to or request more information here.

About Group50® Consulting: 

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This entry was posted in Case Studies, Continuous Improvement, Manufacturing and Distribution, Value stream mapping, on January 26, 2023

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