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Value stream analysis is conducted typically for one specific product or service family at a time. In order to identify and distinguish families, lean practitioners use what is called a product family analysis matrix (a.k.a. product quantity process matrix (PQPr)). Many times the families can be easily discerned once the matrix is populated, other times, it is more difficult. The application of a dendogram or binary sort, can be helpful in these situations. Value stream analysis and, with it, flow kaizen, is central to any lean transformation and is specific to product or service families.

Combinations and Permutations How many different poker hands are there? How many different pizza orders can be made? How many different ways can this work schedule be filled out? How many different ways are there to arrange your books in a bookshelf? These are all examples of combinations and permutations. And knowing how to calculate them is a helpful tool for decision making.  The basic equations are: .

Pitch interval (Ip) can be thought of in two ways: 1) as a unit of time representing the (usually) smallest common pitch shared among a range of products, services, or transactions that are being produced, conveyed, performed, or executed by a given resource(s), and 2) as a count of the number of intervals of a common pitch over a period of time, typically a shift or day.

It all started when my colleague and I noted that we had used the same data to calculate Cpk, but ended up with different results. This led us down an Alice in Wonderland-like path of Google searching, Wikipedia reading, and blogosphere scanning. After several days of investigation, we determined that there was no consensus on how to properly calculate estimated standard deviation. Knowing that there must be a misunderstanding and that this should be purely an effort based on science, we decided to get to the bottom of this.

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