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Case Study
  • Quality

Applying value stream mapping in an unbalanced production line: A case study of a Chinese food processing enterprise

Quality Engineering
February 2020
Volume 32 Issue 1
pp. 111-123
Liu, Qingqi; Yang, Hualong; Xin, Yuchen
The copyright of this article is not held by ASQ.


In recent decades, various manufacturing floors have followed lean initiatives. The focus of lean-initiative approaches is to improve efficiency by eliminating non-value-added activities. Value stream mapping (VSM) is one of the primary analytical tools used to identify waste and optimize production lines. Most of the existing literature concerning lean initiatives concentrates on industries such as traditional manufacturing, automotive, and service industries, with most empirical studies conducted in the USA and the UK. This study examines a Chinese agricultural food processing plant with very different processing capacities and processing times for each production process, and it identifies a feasible lean implementation process for this type of production system. The findings indicate that the optimal cycle time of each process in such cases cannot be determined simply based on the Takt time of the production line. The traditional value stream analysis technique should be modified when processing capacity and time are significantly different for each process.