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If your organization offers any products or services that have low volume and high variety, then the single most important lean technique for dealing with high variability is...
to segment your products into the right product families
And why is this so useful for low volume, high mix?
to maximize lean flow, so that you can then manage the total demand for the entire product family
Total demand for a product family is much more predictable and manageable than demand for each individual product or service.
It's not an overstatement to say that lean management for low volume high mix is simply not possible without well-considered product families.
That's what your Product Family Matrix template does for you.
Sample Product Family Matrix example
When to use your
Road map for a typical
How to use your
Find and open your template
Find and open your Value Stream Mapping Product Family Matrix template
in the same way that you find and open your other 150+ Systems2win templates.
Save your working document
following the usual document storage and naming conventions established by your leaders
Open a Blank Sheet
When you're ready to start doing your own real work...
click the button to 'Open a Blank Sheet'
Excel Ribbon > Systems2win tab > Open a Blank Sheet
This blank sheet is where you will do your real work
(not on the Sample sheet)
Rename your new sheet.
If English is not your preferred language
Switch to your language, just like every Systems2win Excel template.
Now your team is ready to start using your
to divide your offerings into manageable product or service families
Start with all products and services on one sheet
Tip: You might use two separate worksheets to define your product families from a Marketing perspective and an Operations perspective (which can be very different).
Value Stream Mapping is concerned only with the Operations perspective.
List all of your products and/or services in the rows
Be sure to include less obvious "products," like prototypes, production of molds or tools, samples, etc.
Be sure to include the services that you deliver — not just products.
List your processes in the columns
In addition to processes and machines, you can also use additional columns for any other factors that differentiate your product lines (from an Operations perspective).
For example, perhaps some products have similar seasonal demand, or similar shelf life, or use the same hazardous materials, requirement for a sterile environment, etc.
Perhaps use a code or cell format to identify processes that go through a shared work center,
because when grouping similar products together, you are often looking for opportunities to group together processes that might soon be routed through equipment dedicated only to that product family.
For each process used to deliver a product or service, mark the cell with an X
You can also identify possible Alternate processes with an A.
(Or A1, A2 if there are multiple alternate possibilities)
Move rows to group similar products together
Move entire rows or columns
Right-click & drag entire row or column > Shift Down & Move
Get consensus about what a product family means in your company
Usually, a product family consists of only products and services that are similar enough to be treated as a single product for scheduling purposes.
Learn more about High Mix Value Streams
Define your Product Families
Only AFTER you have done all of the above…
Define the Legend for your Product Families
giving each a Description, a short Code, and a Color.
Usually... that's it... you're done
Your Product Families are now very obviously and visually defined
If (and only if)...
there is any product that might take 30% longer than the Product Family average…
Create a separate worksheet for just that one Product Family
If you copy the existing worksheet as a starting point for the new one...
use the special utility: Systems2win menu > Copy Sheet
Enter Process Times
Unhide the column for 'Total Process Time'
Assign and train team members to gather time observation data.
Deal with lengthy processes
Any process that takes longer than 30% of average might require special attention to identify any offerings that take so much more time to produce that they might need to be either moved to another product family or be scheduled using special techniques
See online training for High Mix Value Streams
Optionally analyze any potentially-constrained resources
Unhide the columns for 'Constrained Resource Analysis'
to determine resource requirements
(for equipment or any other potentially-constrained resource)
Tip: You can copy these columns for as many resources as you need to analyze.
The Product Family Matrix template comes with many other useful Value Stream Mapping tools
to empower every team member to improve every process
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