An application of the Value Stream Mapping method in order to identify sources of wastes and opportunities for improvements

University essay from KTH/Industriell produktion

Abstract:

Nowadays, the global economy imposes great competition between companies that creates an intense pressure. Due to this increasing competition, companies have to keep improving their process for becoming more efficient to lower costs while improving their quality level and providing a better service. A company that does not improve every year is a company that is dying. Although Kraft Foods Inc. is the world’s second largest food company, they also need to keep improving in order to maintain its competitive position on the market and this is why they have been implementing the Lean culture in France since 2007. They want to become more efficient by eliminating all the activities that the customer is not willing to pay for, defined as waste. Providing more value with fewer resources, goal of Lean manufacturing, should make Kraft Foods France even more competitive.

However, in order to become Leaner, the nine plants of Kraft Foods Biscuit needed a structured method because the first difficulty of eliminating wastes lies in identifying them.

The main purpose of this thesis was to develop one of the most important Lean tools to identify wastes called “Value Stream Mapping”. This master thesis will therefore explain and describe how mapping the value stream can help identifying and eliminating the wastes but also can be a priceless support to share a common vision of the value stream among managers. This tool should be seen as the starting point of any improvements projects since it allows identifying opportunities for improvement that will improve the bottom line of the company. VSM should be used to challenge the status quo and the behaviors of all employees in order to improve Quality, Cost, Delivery, Safety, Sustainability and Morale.

This master thesis will deal with the two main missions I led in order to reach this goal. The first mission was to develop a standard of the Value Stream Mapping for Kraft Foods France. I was asked to participate in the structuralizing and in the standardization of the VSM tool for the company. The tool was first analyzed and then a taylor-made VSM tool was developed to meet the characteristics and needs of the food industry. The last step of this mission was to train managers and engineers so that they can lead VSM projects themselves, in any plants, that can help them identifying improvements to be done.

The second mission was to apply this method in different production lines to show managers the effectiveness of the tool for identifying rooms for improvement that could increase the productivity of theses studied production lines. For example, the project at Granville’s plant, described in the last part of the thesis, shows what types of improvements can be identified thanks to a Value Stream Mapping project since this project led to a productivity improvement of 40 k€.

On completion of this thesis, I wish to have contributed to the emergence of the good use of Value Stream Mapping tool at Kraft Foods that will help the company to keep improving and focusing on customers.

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