Assessing lean systems using variability mapping
A new approach to assess lean manufacturing based on system's variability is proposed. The assessment utilizes a new tool called variability source mapping (VSMII) which focuses on capturing and reducing variability across the production system. The new tool offers a new metric called variability index to measure the overall variability level of the system. Based on the mapping and the new metric, VSMII suggests a variability reduction plan guided by a recommendation list of both lean techniques as well as production control policies. An industrial application is used to demonstrate the new tool. Results show that VSMII managed to reduce the overall variability level of the system as well as non-value added activities. Finally, the new variability index was successfully applied as a leanness assessment metric.© 2012 The Authors.