Graphically map your value stream

RM Studio maps your value stream in a graphical way, modeling what happens on your manufacturing floor as accurately as possible. A “value stream” is a process that incrementally adds value to a product. On a shop floor, this happens at various stations at which either people, machines, or both, process a lot and transport between these stations.

In this first lesson, you will learn how to model the value streams on your manufacturing floor using RM Studio’s browser interface. An example value stream is shown below. Stations are laid out on a map of your building and connected by a “process”. Notice that the images at each station have been added simply for illustration purposes and are replaced by simple icons in RM Studio.

Your first station

If you haven’t so far, navigate to https://rm.studio, click the “try” button in the top right, and create a free account. All functionality in RM Studio can be reached via the menu button, indicated by three horizontal lines also known as “hamburger”, in the top left. Once the menu pops out, the hamburger turns into an “X” that lets you close the menu.

Select “Locations” to open up the locations tab and press the “plus” button in the top right of the locations tab to add a location. You can choose between a “Work Station” and a “Warehouse”. Drag a “Work Station” anywhere on the map and name it “laser cutter”.

Naming a location

You can choose any name you want for your workstation or warehouse, but every location needs to have a unique name. RM Studio will issue a warning if a name has already been used.

Continue the exercise by adding a second station named “Press” somewhere close to your first station. You should end up with something like this:

Your first process

Click on the menu button in the top left and select “Processes”. Use the “+” button to create a new process and name it “Main”. Leave the switches “Show in Summary View” and “Show Statistics” enabled. Don’t save the process just yet. If you have already done so, you can always edit a process by selecting it from the list of processes and clicking the edit button.

A process consists of one or more routes that connect the stations along a value stream. Use the “Add routes” button in the process editor view to add routes. While it is possible to name routes, you don’t have to do this. Also leave all the default options as is. Instead, click on the “laser cutter” station to create a route that starts at the laser cutter. The route now follows the mouse cursor. Click on “Press” to connect the two. Choose “Add and finish” to complete adding routes to the process and save the process. You should see something like this:

You can also highlight the process by hovering your mouse over the “Main” process in the list of processes.

Enabling process airwires

You can enable and disable the airwire drawn between stations that are part of a process by clicking on the three dots in the bottom right of the screen and toggling the “ratsnest” feature on or off.

Visualize the value stream

Now that you have created your first process, so far consisting of a laser cutter and a press, you can visualize the flow from raw materials to final product. Click on “Lots” in the menu bar to the left. You should see a screen that divides the “Main Porcess” into four columns, labeled “queue”, “laser cutter”, “press” and “finished”. If the process does not fit onto your screen, you can horizontally scroll.

So far, your process is empty. Things you make are represented by “lot cards”. Notice that a lot card always represents the end-product. Not the materials that you are using. You can enter lots into your process by pressing the “+ Lot” button in the queue column. Creating lots has many options and possible parameters. For now, we limit ourselves to assigning a name and a quantity. Create three lots for animal-printed face masks that you name “Facemask (frog)”, “Facemask (mouse)”, “Facemask (cat)” and chose quantities 100, 50, and 100, respectively. Simply press “Add” or “Add & Next” to enter lots. You should end up with something like this:

Prioritizing and filtering lots

The lots summary, also known as “Kanban view” gives you a first overview of where your work-in-process currently is. You can use the pull-down menu at the top to sort your lot cards by any of their fields, such as the “end date” to help you to decide what needs to be done next or filter them by any of their fields to focus on products with specific properties.

You can also use the lots summary, or Kanban view, to manually move lot cards from the order queue to the different stations. Kick-off the “Facemask (cat)” lot by manually dragging it into the laser cutter column. You can see how the total lots in the queue changes to two and the quantity is reduced to 150.

Use the Kanban view to allocate workers to stations that require work and to show your workers what is going on in their line.

Exercise

We will now create a complete cut-and-sew process and fix problems that we have introduced earlier.

1) Add two stations “printing” and “sewing”.

2) Add and remove routes in the main process so that the order of operations is printing, pressing, cutting, and sewing.

3) Move the “Facemask (mouse)” lot card into the printing station and the other two into the laser cutter station using the Kanban view, so that 50 masks are at the printing station and 200 masks are at the laser cutter. Change the quantity of masks by editing each lot card if necessary.

You should end up with the process shown below. The color clouds around each station are what is known as a “heatmap” and are computed from the ratio of products in your process. In its current form, the laser cutter seems to be the bottleneck that apparently adds value at a slower rate than the printing and pressing steps. If you see some of your stations being red more often than not, you might need to either increase that station’s availability (in case its Overall Equipment Efficiency low) or improve the processes around this station.

Summary

RM Studio graphically maps your value stream in the form of locations and processes, allowing you to accurately track your WIP at any time. Learn how to connect to your shop floor and enter real-time information.