Working with AKA has been a rewarding learning experience, and helped NAS to understand and implement value stream mapping principles to material handling movements.
North American Stainless, recognizing the opportunity to better manage the non-value-add material movement, contracted with Advantage Kentucky Alliance to study the specific process of coil material movement while developing the leadership and process improvement skills of NAS team members in the process. AKA’s project manager adapted the value stream mapping (VSM) tool and worked with the NAS team to gather data and piece together the "big picture" to identify areas for improvement.
The AKA engagement included leadership theory for enhancing team dynamics (understand/agree/support), process discipline (manage or be managed), dynamic mentorship, and execution. This embedded portion of the engagement intentionally ‘pushed’ participants to challenge status quo (current reality). Perceived non-conformers and/or naysayers were encouraged to be part of the team to foster a broad, full spectrum of ideas.
As data was being gathered by the team, AKA’s project manager engaged each team member to defend their data by standing at the board and walking the other members through each result. Once all relevant data was gathered, AKA’s project manager led the team through a ‘smell test’ of each forklift’s data, culminating into a realistic current state map. From there the team launched into ideation (brainstorming) potential improvements, redlining and re-calculating each step, resulting in the improved and realistic Future State Map with the results presented. Each project member not only grew in their ability to use the VSM tools, understand (and defend) application of Lean concepts and apply real process improvements, they also practiced team based communication, presentation and leadership skills.