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  Manufacturing Insights
by Thomas R. Cutler
 

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Lean Manufacturing Automation 2019: Digital Visual Management
January 18, 2019

For more than a quarter century, Lean Manufacturing consultants have walked into manufacturing plants with butcher block paper (or a whiteboard) and multi-colors of Post-its to perform Value Stream Mapping (VSM). Over the course of months, even years, teams within the four walls of an industrial facility negotiated the elements of migrating from a problematic "current state" to an optimized "future state." Paper was the only tool to engage entire lean teams to view "what is" and "what could be."

Fast forward to 2019. The efficacy of the paper-based VSM is not invalidated in the era of Digital Visual Management; it is simply a natural extension as a paperless work environment is a top automation initiative and a natural extension of Industry 4.0.

Paper, while still with merit and still used by thousands of lean consultants worldwide, introduces some limitations including compromising data security (visitors and guests see the state of the operation).…
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