What is Value Stream Mapping?

Value Stream Mapping is a lean management method – an approach to analyzing the processes from an idea through to the product/service being delivered to the customer (the process chain). The creation of a stream map can allow managers, and those it affects, to visually see and understand the current state of the chain while designing a more valuable chain for future use.

Although it is a process used mainly in manufacturing, value stream mapping is an effective analysis method for other industries, including logistics, supply chain, healthcare and even software development.

Value Stream Mapping in Manufacturing

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A value stream map looks at a particular product or service rather than the business as a whole, this could be a product with the highest value or products that have the potential to do far better than it currently is.

How to design a Value Stream Map

The standard layout of a value stream map is laid out with value-adding steps in the process drawn down the middle, with non-value adding steps represented by vertical lines, allowing the value stream and the ‘waste’ steps to easily be identified. Another way to think of it is that the value stream is the process while the ‘waste’ steps are the operations that help the value stream operate. The non-value steps are generally a workstation or individual that executes the value adding steps. There is a collection of symbols that are commonly used in value stream mapping, however it is not unusual to use symbols more associated with the business itself.

To start creating a Value Stream Map you need to create a flow chart of boxes representing each step within the process from idea/creation to delivery to the customer. Once you have these boxes in place you then need to add in the information flows. This information includes items such as how the customer places an order, the frequency and method followed by how this is then related back to suppliers (if applicable). The way in which this information is communicated between processes is also included as part of the information flow.

The final step to creating your map is to add a timeline. It allows interested parties to clearly see where there is lag time and the exact cycle time for a product, giving a base line to make improvements.

Still not sure using a Value Stream Map will benefit you then look out for the next post – Value Stream Mapping – The Benefits. Need help to get started, then contact us today.