Using Lean methodologies, I have to optimize both product and people flow in an old printing house. The building has 3 floors with two elevators on one side. This printing house uses a "Soviet-designed" industrial building, which means there are lots of corridors and every machine has its own room. The final result of the analysis will likely be to break down some walls, design some working cells, and so on.

How can I draw a Spaghetti Diagram for both product and people flow in this environment? I have 3 other people that I can assign to this task. Since there are lots of different rooms, the use of cameras to record movements of products and people would be useless. What else could I do?

  • 1
    This is a pretty open ended question with a very weak link to project management.
    – MCW
    Mar 14 '13 at 10:36
  • Wouldn't it fit The Workplace?
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Mar 14 '13 at 16:46
  • @TiagoCardoso I thought the question was on-topic, although it needs a little light editing to avoid looking like an NC close target. Process flow diagrams are definitely on-topic from a PM methodology standpoint.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Mar 14 '13 at 18:52
  • 1
    I've edited the question to (hopefully) make it more obvious what the diagram is for, what the core of your question is, and how it relates to Lean flow.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Mar 14 '13 at 20:36

Walk the Process

Don't be lazy; walk the process. You're trying to find a technological solution (e.g. cameras) rather than just following the current process to build your diagram. Especially for deeper detail levels such as hand-tracking, you will find it difficult to accurately identify waste without actually performing the process and getting a first-person feel for it.

Pick a product increment and walk through your process with it, recording whatever information you want for your diagram as you go. Simply asking people about their process or trying to track process flow by proxy can only result in a proxy result. Garbage in, garbage out.

Some Related Links

While none of the links address your question head-on, the following links show some of the activities that you need to perform while walking the process.

  1. http://www.six-sigma-material.com/Spaghetti-Diagram.html
  2. http://www.leankaizen.co.uk/spaghetti-diagram.html

The second link, in particular, seems to address itself more fully towards tracking transport waste. Your mileage may vary.


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