Adaptation of the Value Stream Mapping approach to the design of lean engineer-to-order production systems: A case study
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Purpose – The purpose of this research is to examine relevant parts of the case of an Italian steel construction company’s green field plant design process to identify best practice guidelines for the adaptation and use of value stream mapping in the design of lean engineer-to-order production systems. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews the most relevant literature in the field of value stream mapping (VSM) and discusses its limitations regarding the application in an engineer-to-order (ETO) environment. Based on the analysis of an industrial case the original VSM methodology is adapted with a special focus on ETO. Information was collected through multiple site visits and semi-structured interviews with the company’s key staff of the project, as well as examination of relevant company documentations. Findings – A set of guidelines was developed on the basis of an industrial case research. In this context, major attention was given to two aspects: the introduction of synchronization points in front of merge-activities in the value stream, and the splitting of customer orders into suitable production orders and equal time increments of work. Research limitations/implications – The findings of this research are limited due to the focused nature of a case study based research. However, the obtained results encourage assuming its transferability to similar problems. Originality/value –This paper provides an original industrial case study with valuable insights for the adaptation of the VSM methodology to batch-of one ETO environment.