Using Value Stream Management to Enhance Organizational Communications and Continuous Improvement - A Case Study in The Subsea Domain
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Continuous improvement is a process of focused and continuous incremental innovation, basedon the aim to eliminate waste in all systems and processes of an organization. Until now,continuous improvement has been applied mostly by optimizing processes through theelimination of the seven types of wastes in production. However, to attain a completecontinuous improvement company, it is necessary to perceive lean as a people system,integrating all the parts of the company in order to work together to identify new issues forimprovement. Company-wide continuous improvement means that business divisions must work together toform an integrated value stream, focused on meeting the customer needs and demands, andconcerned with moving from an organization constructed of functional silos to one that is fullyintegrated. This master thesis addresses the research questions about what is needed to create acollaborative continuous improvement enterprise, in which all the parts of an organization areincluded and integrated with cross-functional teams in order to eliminate common waste andachieve an efficient flow in the complete value stream. The research questions are: Whatcharacteristics of an organization can support Continuous Improvement? What practices cana company use to implement Continuous Improvement? and How can a company implementthese practices? The thesis considers characteristics such as organic structure, practices such as kaizen events,and value stream management as the method to support the implementation of continuousimprovement in a whole company. These attributes have been compared and applied in the casestudy company Kongsberg Maritime Subsea (KM Subsea), who are creating a collaborativecontinuous improvement process involving all the business functions across each of their valuestreams: Fish Finding, Catch Monitoring, Underwater Science, and Naval systems.The case study organized the application of a kick-off kaizen event in KM Subsea during whichthe whole value stream from Fish Finding was mapped. This activity has been possible with thehelp of systems engineering, by having a whole value stream view with a breakdown intomanageable subsystems.