The Best PROGRESSIVE Band You’ve Probably Never Heard (of)

Asia Minor produced two absolute masterpieces of energetic and driving symphonic progressive rock. There is a third album, but I have not heard it, so let’s stick to the just the first two.

On first listen, you feel something oddly familiar as the Camel-like guitar and flute greet you like a long lost friend. Make no mistake, this is no Camel clone. When they kick it into gear, there is a busyness and fire that Camel only toyed with a few times. These two albums are drenched in that, although perhaps drenched isn’t quite the right word to go with fire. But you get my meaning.

This youtube sample is a perfect example of what Asia Minor is all about. It starts off deceptively simple. Just five notes. And a key change. Over the next two minutes these five notes are filled out with a more complete riff, the drums enter and go through a variations sequence. Then we meet the keyboards, first simple Hammond organ chords, showing off the versatility of the amazing Leslie rotating speaker. Then synths, including what sounds like a real mellotron. Over and over it builds for the fastest 2 1/2 minutes of your listening life. And then it hits a brick wall, leaving you with a rather goofy grin on your face. As you reach for the replay button.

If this is Asia Minor’s omega, the opening track from the same album, a track called Northwinds, would be their alpha. You can find it with a bit of searching on youtube – it is well worth the effort.

The two albums, Crossing the Line (1979) and Between Flesh and Divine (1980) are absolute essentials in any prog collection.

Kazakhstan language is the sound of a Diesel engine trying to start up in 40

Күш, Кеш, Көш, Kір, Кер, Көр, Күл, Кел, Көл,

Кілең қысқа сөз, Кім оқиды тез?

Арқада алты арқар бар,
Қырқада қырық арқар бар.
Қырық арқарда ақ арқар бар.
Алты арқарда марқа арқар бар.

Әбдіреде әбігер әтеш отыр.
Әбігер әтеш отырған
Әбдірені әжем ашып жатыр.
Гүлім гүлге қарап күлімдеді,
Көгілдір гүлге қонған аралар гуілдеді.

Ескекті ескекші еседі,
Ескекші ескекті еседі.

Доп деп,
Дөп теп.

Жаға жай,
Жағажайда – Қамажай.

Зура зурнада ойнайды,
Зурнада бір ғана Зура ойнайды деме,
Зара да, Зере де зурнада ойнайды.

Инелік илеуде иленбейді.
Итбалық итмұрынды иіскемейді.

Жайылып жүр тай.
Ай-ай-ай, Ұшып кетті торғай.

Хан баласы ханзада
Болды ғашық ханшаға.
Алып ханнан хабар,
Ханшайымды табар.

Қаһарлы айдаһар
Шаһарға келіп,

Циркте ойнар аюды
Циркаш десем, күлесің.
“Ц” әрпінен басталған
Цемент сөзін білесің.

Сатып алды чемпион чемодан.
Чемодан алған чемпион чек алған.

Шықпен шыланған шөпке
Шыңдалған шалғысын
шық еткізді.

Ащы жеген Тазша баланың аузы ашыды,
Тазша бала тұщы сумен -*аузын шайды.

Съезд, разъезд, подъезд.
Подъезд, съезд, разъезд.
Жаттап ал тез.

Ықылас пен Ыбырай
Ыдыстарын тасымай,
Ырыскүлден үлгі алмай,
Ынтасыз жүр тілді алмай.


The problem:

Err:1 cosmic InRelease
Could not resolve ‘’


/etc sudo nano resolv.conf

nameserver 2001:4860:4860::8888
nameserver 2001:4860:4860::8844


Woala! The server is again online!

Bulgarian Business English

I’m not able to correct all the below sentences – Gillmour



I tolked with …


Excuse me for the delay, today we will send you the offers.

1.I want to ask about the packaging.

We pack parts for Lenz in wooden europallets with wooden pages.

We have an agreement with you to invoice this package separately.

There will be no packing price in the offer-is that good for you.

2.Price die cast tool/permanent mould/pattern

Can you explain what this means?

3.The offer does not have a column – to guarantee for tools (die casting molds)



This parts are deliver!


I want check, are they the same with ours.


Please organice transport for 13 europpaletes – 3500 kg.


We need to make the samples to see can we reach or not.
The problem is that if we make the feed rate less, for example 0.07mm/rev.
there is possibility for vibration of the surface.
If the part is stable and there is no vibration we can achieve this request.
Also we will see what will be the increasing of the time, for the price,
but I think that some seconds on the PN which is not most used will be not problem for us.


изобщо не знам какво е това,което искат.Може ли да помогнеш? Понеже е спешно,моля те за обратна връзка още днес.Благодаря предварително


After our cheking of return parts, we have established:

1. The information on your complain is not totaly right
-from delivery note 2435, you have sent 384 pcs not 480 pcs. You can see on the picture the our labes on the boxes.
– from delivery note2450, you have sent 288 pcs. not 192 pcs.

2. The deepness of the parts of delivery note 2435 is not OK, becouse they are not cleaned of the chips. The deepness after cleaning is L22,23

3. The deepness of the parts of delivery note 2450 is too L22, 23, but they don’t have a chips.

In this case, I would like to know, what kind of rework have you done???

We are sorry for inconvenience! We will clean the parts and send you back as soon is possible!

Няма толкова заспала и затъпяла нация в света

By Иван Ангелов / On 01.10.2018 / At 11:23 / In KO4 STORY

Най-бързо изчезващата нация в света днес за пореден път доказа, че е съучастник в издаването на собствената си смъртна присъда, подписана за пореден път в собствения й парламент.

Не са толкова потресаващи наглостта и цинизмът на бандата, нарекла себе си управляващ политически елит – те правят същото с методична и неотклонна последователност повече от две десетилетия. По-потресаваща е тъпотата и безразличието, с което преклонената главица на българина спи кротко на дръвника и е положила на него и главите на собствените си деца.

Това е наистина потресаващо. Няма толкова заспала и затъпяла нация в света.

И обективната статистика го доказва безапелационно. България е най-бързо изчезващата нация в света. Остатъчното българско население се тресе все още от възторг или от възмущение от дължината на носа на Мис България, търка ли търка до малоумие лотарийни билети, вълнува се или се подиграва на някакви дегенерати в някакъв напълно дебилен и все още съществуващ (?!) Биг Брадър, плюе Америка или Русия за това, че са ни колонизирали, чака същите тези Америка или Русия да ни спасят от собствената ни глупост и от безхаберието ни към собствения ни живот.

След отхвърлянето в парламента на ветото на президента Румен Радев върху частта от Закона за бюджета на Националната здравноосигурителна каса за 2018 г., която забранява изплащането на нови лекарства, пред Народното събрание трябваше да е пълно с народ. Няколко хиляди души са достатъчни, за да стреснат напълно деморализираната и безпринципна коалиция, която трепери за имиджа си в дните преди поемането на председателствто на ЕС. Но не би. Имаме си безопасно и спокойно място за протест, което се съчетава перфектно с люпене на семки и пиене на ракийка – стреляме с клавиатурата във Фейсбук в една отвратителна, изродена и гнусна виртуална война. Докато деца умират в онкологиите без надежда за живот и без средства за лечение. А майките им благодарят през сълзи на Българската Коледа и молят за милостиня. Всичко това е невероятно отблъскващо. Потресаваща, ужасяваща неадекватност. Плачем за милостиня по телевизора, вместо да изискваме правата си от властта. И се умиляваме от вълнуващото слово на Стефан Данаилов в парламента, вместо да изритаме негодниците.

Имаше период, когато възприемах българското население като хобити по Толкин. Невинни хобити, които не осъзнават реалността, докато Фродо и компания ги спасяват. Само че това невинно време отмина. Защото Фродо е ранен. И хобитите се оказаха не просто симпатични балкански туземци, заслужаващи снизхождение за незнанието си, а напълно осъзнати съучастници в унищожаването на своя род и държава. Изживяващи се като хитреци за това, че събират подхвърлените им трохи, те година след година възпроизвеждат същото това престъпно статукво, което буквално ги затрива и като човешки същества, и като народ. Някой необмислено ги назова дебили и те вкупом скочиха от възмущение. Но срещу убийците на собствените си деца така и не скочиха. Чакат идеалистите-глупаци тип „Фродо“ да водят техните битки вместо самите тях. Докато има Фродовци, които да се сражават със Саурон в Мордор, защо ни е да скачаме?! Това е логиката на обидените, които толкова незаслужено и неразумно бяха наречени дебили.

Вчера Петър Кичашки, изпълнителен директор на Института за модерна политика, написа следния пост във Фейсбук. Постът му е публичен, затова си позволявам да го цитирам.

„Имах приятната възможност наскоро да комуникирам с младежи от различни държави, които бяха за няколко дни в столицата. След една тяхна разходка из центъра на София и на мой въпрос дали градът ни им е харесал, едно от момичетата ми каза в прав текст, че София въобще не й допада. Попитах защо и вече бях в готовност веднага да защитя нашето си, въпреки че аз самият не веднъж съм критикувал управата на столицата. Бях си подготвил контрааргументи и за мръсотията, и за задръстванията, и за какво ли не. Не бяха кой знае какви контрааргументи, но можеше и да минат пред чужденец. Тогава обаче момичето каза нещо, за което нямах отговор. Тя ми рече, че ние българите сякаш съзнателно се опитваме да се заличим като народ. Точните й думи бяха: „Нямате из целия център нищо традиционно българско, ако не броим 2-3 полу-фалирали магазини за розово масло. Всичките ви табели са и на английски, сякаш се срамувате от езика си. Даже коледният ви базар на центъра е… немски! Нищо българско не видях никъде. Само МакДоналдс, билбордове с Кока-кола и надписи на английски“. Накрая добави, че в Щатите, Англия и Германия е била и е искала да видя България, но ние толкова сме се постарали да я заличим, че колкото и да е търсила България в София, просто не я е видяла. Как се отговаря на тази болезнена истина, която май само ние не виждаме? Така изглеждаме отвън и за това отговор май нямаме. Или поне аз не намерих. И не, това не е критика към тази или онази партия, този или онзи управленец. Това е повод да се замислим всички за това какво правим с държавата си.“

Но всъщност това е най-безобидният пример за нивото на общественото съзнание у нас. Ужасяващото е, че на остатъчното българско население, което много, много скоро ще бъде малцинство в собствената си държава (пардон, колония), не му пука не само за неговата национална и културна идентичност, а не му пука и за самия живот. За живота на собствените му деца. Докато мечката не заиграе в поредния двор и тогава изведнъж поредната отстреляна жертва не започне да рони сълзи за милостиня чрез смс-чета в унизителната Българска Коледа, легитимираща окончателно непукизма и абдикирането на държавата от грижата за плебса, населяващ нашите земи. Абдикиране до такава степен, че наскоро омбудсманът на републиката буквално се разплака пред камерите в парламента от безсилие, защото управляващите наглеци и техните „патриотични“ лакеи отказват да се обезщетят хората, изхвърлени на улицата с изработени и неполучени заплати!

Ето това е Българската „Коледа“! Но още по-ужасяващото е, че тази цинична кампания се осъществява с благосклонното участие на поредния президент.

Не, господин Президент! Не е този начинът да се опитвате да спасявате българската нация! Начинът е вето след вето; начинът е публично говорене и артикулиране на потресаващата българска реалност, без умора, без почивка, докато поне няколко глави не уврат и не решат да се отместят от дръвника, върху който блажено сънуват.

Начинът е най-после да инициирате създаването на дългосрочна визия за България, която да обедини останките от българското общество! Начинът е да съберете малкото умни и знаещи хора, за да намерят път през смърдящото блато, осеяно с тела на самоубийци. Високата Ви позиция като държавен глава Ви осигурява неограничена гласност! И все още имате време за това. Все още! Много скоро ще се опитаме да Ви помогнем, щом Вашият състав от експерти няма нито съзнанието, нито потенциала за това.

След последните парламентарни избори на 26 март 2017 г. стана ясно, че опитите за събуждане на този заспал народ и за лечение на разкъсаното и болно българско (все още) общество, са просто кауза пердута. Най-„представителната“ част от това население мисли само как да краде и с това се изчерпват висшите му обществено-политически стремежи. Стопяващата се средна класа се утешава все още с разходки из моловете и селфита. Останалата голяма част от населението се задоволява със снимки на софри и клетви/възхвали по адрес на Америка или Русия. Тук-там някой се сети за България на три морета и за тракийския произход на българите, и други подобни бълнувания за „най-старата“ нация в света.

А всъщност трябва да започнем оттук – че България днес е най-бързо изчезващата нация в света и най-вероятно такава държава скоро няма да има на географските карти.

Преувеличавам? Не.

Когато децата ви станат малцинство в бившата държава (пардон, колония) България, тогава ще се молите да не сте се събуждали.

Само че в историята няма вечен сън. Рано или късно, доброволно или насилствено, събуждането настъпва. Лека нощ и приятни сънища на дръвника, скъпи бивши сънародници!

Христина Христова
Източник: memoriabg

SIPOC Diagram

This last template is made in Microsoft Excel, and includes space for a larger number of rows (download the template).

Excel SIPOC Template


  • Always start by defining the start and end points in the process column – these boundaries are important as the team defines the processes that are included between these start and end points.
  • Next, document the process steps themselves.  There are no firm guidelines for doing this, but four to seven process steps seem to work well in most situations.  If the team is coming up with too many process steps, they should consider creating more high-level process steps and then creating lower level SIPOCs to define each of the high-level processes.
  • After completing the process steps, proceed from the center of the document to the right, adding process Outputs and then Customers.    Then work from center to left, adding the Inputs and Suppliers of those inputs.

Creating a SIPOC diagram is best done in a team setting, following a specific sequence of steps:  (1) Processes, (2) Outputs, (3) Customers, (4) Inputs, (5) Suppliers.

This center-out approach works very well since most teams can quickly recite their work processes, but do not always know who their customers and suppliers are.  This is especially true in large companies where functions are often siloed, with little supplier and customer interaction.

this is the sequence in which a SIPOC diagram is created

Creating a SIPOC Diagram in 5 Steps

1Define the beginning and ending processes for the SIPOC, and place them at the top and bottom of the Processes column, as noted above.  Then note the processes that go in between the beginning and ending processes.  This completes the Processes column.
2Identify the Outputs that the Processes from step (1) deliver.  List them in the Outputs column.
3Identify the internal and external Customers that receive the Outputs from Step (2), and list them in the Customers column.
4Identify the Inputs that the Processes from step (1) require in order to perform their function, and list them in the Inputs column.
5Identify the Suppliers that provide those Inputs, and note them in the Suppliers column.

Building a SIPOC diagram in a team setting

SIPOC diagrams can be made quickly in a team setting, typically in an hour or less.  Here are a few suggestions for planning and running the meeting –

  • Select a Small Team – Since SIPOC’s are high-level documents, they can usually be made with a small team of supervisors or managers who understand the overall process at a high level.
  • Show an Example – At the beginning of the meeting, show a completed SIPOC example to help convey the desired outcome of the meeting.
  • Sticky Notes – Use large sticky-notes and make the SIPOC on a blank wall or whiteboard.  This allows for quick repositioning of the SIPOC elements without erasing and re-writing them.   Another option is to use one of the templates on a computer with a projector screen.
  • Follow the Above Sequence – Following the above center-out sequence works well in team setting, and the process goes quickly once the center (Processes) column is filled in.  To complete the additional columns, simply ask,
    • “What are the outputs of these processes?”
    • “Who are the customers that receive these outputs?”
    • “What inputs are required by these processes?”
    • “Who are the suppliers that provide these inputs?”

Working through obstacles

Here are a couple of obstacles that can come up during a SIPOC diagramming session, and suggestions for working through them –

  • Too Much Detail – this is a common problem, where some team members may push for too much detail in the SIPOC.  A cluttered diagram will result if this situation is not managed.  Generally speaking, more than ten items in any column is too many.  Here are some options for avoiding too much clutter in the diagram –
    • Group similar items together.  Remember that a SIPOC is a high-level document, not a detailed process flow chart.  See in the manufacturing example where equipment builders were simply noted as “Equipment Builders,” in the Suppliers column rather than being listed out individually.
    • Add supplemental documents, separate from the SIPOC.   Continuing with the equipment builder example directly above, a page-2 reference document could be added to the SIPOC, listing the equipment builders.
    • Narrow the scope – if the team cannot consolidate similar items together, then consider changing the scope and using two SIPOC diagrams.  For example, break up a customer service team’s SIPOC into two documents:  (1) Order Entry and Logistics Support and (2) Post-Delivery Support.

Course Content for Six Sigma Black Belt

• Introduction
1. A brief history of Quality
2. What is Quality (Definitions) and service or product
3. Quality Gurus & their contribution to Quality
4. Enterprisewide View
5. Leadership
6. Six Sigma Roles and Responsibilities
7. Team Formation
8. Team Facilitation
9. Team Dynamics
10. Time Management For Teams
11. Team Decision making Tools
12. Management and Planning Tools
13. Team Performance Evaluation And Rewards
14. Overview of DMAIC

• Define
1. Important Stakeholders
2. Impact On Stakeholders
3. Critical To X Requirements
4. Benchmarking
5. Business performance measures
6. Financial measures
7. VOC
8. Kano’s Customer Satisfaction Levels
9. Juran’s customer needs
10. Market research
11. CTQ Flowdown
12. QFD
13. Performance Metrics
14. Project Charter
15. Charter Negotiation
16. Project management plan and Baselines
17. Project Tracking

• Measure
1. Processes, Process characteristics, process flow metrics, inputs and outputs
2. Process maps and Flow chart
4. Data Type & Measurement scale
5. Data Collection
6. Sampling strategies
7. Fishbone Diagram
8. Relational Matrices or Prioritization Matrix
9. Basic Statistics
10. Analytical Statistics
11. Gauge R & R
12. Process Capability Analysis

• Analyze
1. Correlation and Regression Analysis
2. Testing of Hypothesis
4. Gap Analysis
5. The Five Whys
6. Pareto Diagram
7. Tree Diagram
8. Non-value added activities
9. Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ)

• Improve
1. DOE
2. Poka-yoke
3. 5S
5. Continuous Flow Manufacturing
6. Kaizen
7. Kanban
8. Theory of constraints
9. Risk analysis

• Control
1. Statistical Process Control
2. Other Control Tools
3. Maintain Controls
4. Sustaining Improvements


• Case Study 1
1. Case Study 1 Part 1
2. Case Study 1 Part 2

• Case Study 2
1. Case Study 2 Part 1
2. Case Study 2 Part 2

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6 Process Maps You Should Know & How to Choose the Right One

A process map is an important part of any Lean Six Sigma project – it helps communicate the process at the center of your project and guides you to specific areas of focus. There are a number of choices available, and choosing the right map helps to clarify your efforts.

The wrong map might confuse matters or simply waste your time. I’ll share key aspects of the following map types:

  1. SIPOC (and SIPOC-R)
  2. High Level Map
  3. Detailed Map
  4. Swimlane Map
  5. Relationship Map
  6. Value Stream Map

The intent is to help you make a useful choice, but not go into how to build each map. If you Google each map name you’ll find examples and guides for constructing them and there are links to helpful templates for some of them. Keep in mind that there are plenty of opinions on the “right” way to make them – find what works for you.

Map #1: SIPOC

SIPOC is an acronym for Supplier – Inputs – Process – Outputs – Customer, and may not be considered a true process map by a purist. I like to think of it as a “one box” process map. That might not seem like much of a map, but it establishes the basis for subsequent mapping.

The importance of the SIPOC is that it shows, in very simple terms, what the process accomplishes while identifying the key players. The center contains the a few high-level process steps. The required inputs (and their providers) are listed to the left, and the key process outputs (and their recipients) are listed to the right. The SIPOC provides a focus for discussion of what the process is all about.

The importance of the SIPOC is that it shows, in very simple terms, what the process accomplishes while identifying the key players.

In this case we are examining the purchasing process in which a requester submits a purchase requisition that details what’s to be purchased. The requisition is received and a purchase order is issued to a supplier, who subsequently delivers what was ordered. The SIPOC also can define the scope of the project: in this case, the process of converting a request into an order placed with the supplier. It does not include the actual delivery, the invoicing or the payment. The SIPOC would have different outputs or customers if the project had a broader scope.

I recommend creating a SIPOC for every project because they are helpful when discussing the process with others and they’re incredibly simple to make! Your first SIPOC may feel a bit awkward, but with a little practice you can make a SIPOC for nearly any process in less than five minutes.

The SIPOC discussed here is the simplest form – there have been many improvements, including the SIPOC-R (discussed next), and the GoLeanSixSigma version, which actually combines the SIPOC with a high level process map (see


The SIPOC-R is a variation on the SIPOC in which the requirements (or specifications) for the inputs and outputs are listed, typically just under each input or output. In this case, a proper requisition might include the item description, date needed, an account number to charge, and an authorizing signature. Often the additional detail provided by requirements offers clues to problems we might wish to solve. If the problem exists even though all of the input requirements have been satisfied, then the cause is either in the process itself or in a missing (unstated) requirement. On the other hand, if the requirement has not been met, we should investigate the causes and you may not need to delve into the process details.

If we need to examine the process, we want to make sure we see how the process converts the SIPOC inputs into the outputs, so the SIPOC can help us avoid missing some important relationships.

Map #2: High Level Process Map

High Level Process Maps show how the process works in just a few steps. The purpose is to provide quick and easy insights into what the process does, without getting into the details of how it’s done. This can be useful when communicating to leadership and others who have no need (or interest) in seeing the details.

High Level Maps typically don’t require a deep knowledge of the process, so you can often construct them with the assistance of managers. Think of the High Level Map as simply an expansion of the center “process” from the SIPOC into five to ten more detailed boxes. This map shows where all the inputs go, and where all the outputs are created.

High Level Maps typically don’t require a deep knowledge of the process, so you can often construct them with the assistance of managers.

In this case, each function or department is shown in a different color. This isn’t essential, but it’s useful. In most projects a High Level Process Map is adequate to describe the process. As you investigate underlying problems, you can put marks next to the steps (dot’s, x’s, stars) when you find problems originating in that step. When complete, it forms a visual concentration diagram, showing where the problems lie in the process.

Map #3: Detailed Process Map

We don’t normally need to see the entire process in detail, but there may be some parts of the process that require a Detailed Process Map. This is especially true if there are a number of problems with that step. In this example, we might be interested in exploring the Purchasing step.  We simply consider the input to that step, identify what immediately happens with that input and then repeatedly ask the “what happens next?” question until we produce the output. If this provides the necessary level of detail, we can stop here. If, however, we need to know more about the “Get three quotes” part of the process, we could explode it into more detail.  The key is selectively diving into the detail. It’s a lot of work to create a detailed process map – you need to talk to the people who work the process in order to find out what really happens – managers often don’t know the process at this level of detail. I prefer to start with a High Level Map and let the needs of the project dictate when to go into more detail and how far to dive down.

The exception is if we intend to radically streamline the process. In that case we have to get close to the “work instruction” level of detail in order to isolate the few nuggets of the process that are truly value-added.

The exception is if we intend to radically streamline the process.

Finding value-added activities in a process cannot be done in a High Level Process Map. In fact, if the value-added activity is evenly distributed throughout the process, then at a high level, all of the steps will appear to be value-added because they all contain an activity that contributes value. If you blow up each step into its detail you will find that the true value-added activity is isolated in one or two small steps.

Map #4: Swimlane Map

Swimlane Maps separate the steps into lanes or channels according to who does the activity. If we have a process map where the participants have been identified by departmental colors, simply “sliding” the steps so those of the same color line up in a horizontal row, it becomes a Swimlane Map.

This Swimlane Map is especially helpful when establishing work instructions and training for the new process because it makes each participant’s role explicit.

This style of process map is highly valued because it clearly shows “who does what,” when they do it and an arrow crossing a lane indicates, a handoff. For this reason, Swimlane Maps are favored by managers who who appreciate additional information. The drawback is that Swimlane Maps are not space efficient, especially if there are multiple lanes with few steps.  In such maps some lanes are nearly empty which means the overall process map takes up more space. In addition, processes with a lot of handoffs can be awkward to depict in a Swimlane Map since they result in many arrows crossing multiple lanes. My preference is to use traditional, high level and detailed maps during the project work, and use the Swimlane Maps for the improved process since it will be simpler with fewer boxes, participants and handoffs. This Swimlane Map is especially helpful when establishing work instructions and training for the new process because it makes each participant’s role explicit.

Map #5: Relationship Map

Relationship Maps are technically not process maps since they don’t detail the work done, but they do show the participants and how materials, paper or information flows between them. This map was popularized by Rummler-Brache, and is not widely used, but I wanted to share it as an option. This map is useful when initially exploring the process, typically at a high level, to determine the identity of participants.

If there are only a couple of participants in the process there is no point in creating a Relationship Map, but if there are many participants it is a helpful addition to a High Level Process Map. Once you have created a Relationship Map, you can use it to complete your process map by confirming that the arrows in the Relationship Map originate from the steps creating the unit and end in the proper place.

Map #6: Value Stream Map

Value Stream Maps are typically used in Lean applications where we are interested in either showing pull scheduling or opportunities to do pull scheduling. They are often detailed and difficult to read. However, they are rich with information that is useful when planning process improvements. Value Stream Maps are often used when planning a Lean implementation to display the current state of the process including material flows, information flows and other information important for Lean implementations.

A few distinguishing features:

  • Material moves from left to right
  • Information which triggers release of materials or scheduling of production moves from right to left
  • Work-in-Process (WIP) is shown in the triangles
  • Relevant process details such as cycle time, changeover time, etc. are shown below each process step
  • Wait time and work time appear on a line at the bottom of the map
  • Improvement opportunities appear as starbursts

They require more skill to build than simpler process maps, but they provide great information.

Value Stream Maps are sometimes called Material and Information Flow Diagrams. They require more skill to build than simpler process maps, but they provide great information. For this process, the diagram shows there is essentially neither pull nor flow, a little over a day’s worth of work-in-process inventory and lots of wait time. The process should produce one part every 18 minutes (takt time) to meet the customer demand, but four of the five process steps cannot meet this output pace. It takes 6.56 days for a part to get through the process (though it’s needed in 5 days), after receiving 108 minutes of work. An experienced Lean practitioner will quickly see a lot of opportunity here!

Choosing the Right Map

It may seem that I am advocating the Value Stream Map, but I am not. For Lean implementations it is helpful, but for routine problem solving it may be substantial overkill. So how do we choose the right map for the job? The following chart provides guidance:

Many projects make use of several maps types. You might start out with a SIPOC, followed by a High Level Map. After some investigation you might decide to make a detailed map of selective portions of the areas where problems exist. After finding root causes and creating a revised process, the Swimlane Map can provide helpful documentation.

VSM Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping (VSM) is a lean manufacturing tool that seeks to map your process from supplier to customer, highlighting the flows of product and information and identifying delays and non-value adding processes.

It is a top level view of your company rather than a detailed look at an individual process within it, but this map is a real eye opener for top management. This is one of the most powerful and yet easy to use mapping tools at your disposal and can lead to a rapid and significant improvement to your business if action is taken following the mapping exercise.

VSM is not just about creating one map; it is about discovering where we are today with a current value stream map and using the team to create an ideal state value stream map as a target to aim for whilst creating a series of future state maps to work towards on the journey to our ideal state.

Why do we need VSM


Value Stream Map

We need value stream mapping to create a common vision and direction for our company, a current state map created by those involved in the processes creates buy in and understanding as to where we are. The creation of an ideal state together provides that shared vision that all can buy into and work towards.

The creation of future state maps and related action plans help to generate improvements and change within the company worked on by all.

With Lean we are trying to compress the time from order receipt through to the cash arriving in our bank account, This best done through an evaluation of the value stream as a whole, not just concentrating on the small period of our lead time taken up by manufacture.

What do we Map?

Value stream mapping is usually conducted on a single product or family of products from supplier through to customer. Where we have multiple products it is tempting to try to map them all but this would just result in information overload.

The team should choose one product or family on which to create the map, any improvements made on this value stream can then be used as a template to improve other value streams. At times it is difficult to find product families if you have a large number of individual products. Product family analysis is a useful tool to use to find the similarities between products to allow the creation of families.

How do we VSM

Value stream mapping is a team process that should take place at the gemba (the workplace), not within an office by an expert using data from written procedures about what should happen. Your value stream map should reflect exactly what does happen along with real current data regarding stock levels, delays, change over times, quality levels and so forth. It is this map that will form the basis for your improvements.

Ideal and Future state Value stream maps

Once you have your agreed version of your current state map it is time to move directly onto creating your ideal and future state maps.

The ideal state value stream map requires a firm understanding of lean manufacturing principles to enable the team to visualize an ideal lean process. This would often be a single dedicated cell controlled through a pull kanban system rather than a grouping of shared processes each scheduled from an MRP system pushing product onto the next process, with daily or even hourly deliveries to customer and from supplier. The ultimate ideal of course being single piece flow at the demand of the customer (JIT).

Often it is impossible to jump straight from the current state to the ideal so the team needs to agree a future state map to work towards on the journey to the ideal state. This then becomes the basis for an action plan; you may wish to first work at standardizing and improving processes to improve cycle times and reduce defects or whatever the most pressing issue is for your business highlighted on your VSM.

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