Value Stream Mapping with Microsoft Dynamics AX
Abstract: Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX) is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, and like ERP systems in general, it supports the lean production philosophy only to a limited extent. One way to provide a better support for lean production would be a feature for value stream mapping with AX as data source. The purpose of this study was to examine if plant level current state value stream maps could be created with an existing software using AX as data source. The relevance of such maps in order to gain a realistic representation of the value stream has also been evaluated. In order to fulfil the purpose, a comprehensive literature study has been conducted. From established theories, the information needed for mapping of a value stream has been identified. Next it has been investigated to what extent this information is available in AX, and how it can be visualized. Finally it is investigated how relevant this visualization is for realistically describing the actual value stream. A number of additional value stream mapping tools are also examined, in relation to the existing data in AX. It is concluded that plant level current state value stream maps can be created with data from AX and that this method of producing value stream maps has some advantages in relation to the conventional method: A time saving potential, clearness, and a single source of data. Disadvantages are also identified, including: Risk for lack of specific data, approximations of data, reliance on user input and frequent updating. It is also concluded that this method of value stream mapping is limited in relation to the lean principles, mainly due to two facts: Strategic product families can not be identified, and AX does not support the way production is controlled in a lean production environment. Therefore further research is suggested, before a feature for value stream mapping is implemented.
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