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Value Stream Mapping (VSM): A Quick Informational Guide

Value stream mapping is a tool used to identify value-added and non value-added activities in a process. It can also be used to improve the efficiency of an organisation.

The value of VSM is that it’s simple, yet powerful enough for any company. This article will give you an introduction on value stream mapping as well as how you can implement value stream mapping in your company today!

What is Value Stream Mapping?

Value stream mapping is a Lean management strategy that uses value-stream analysis to identify ways of improving business processes.

The value-stream map shows the sequence of steps needed and highlights those activities where value is either added or lost in each step. Value stream maps can be used as an overview for daily work operations. 

A value stream map displays the entire steps of your work process necessary to deliver value from start to finish. It allows you to visualise every task that your team works on and provides single glance status reports about each assignment’s progress.

value stream mapping flow

Whether it be material and information flow or the entire process in your business,  value stream mapping is one of the simplest and most effective tools for improving operations.

What is value stream mapping used for?

The state value stream map  is a graphic representation of value-added and non-value added activities in the supply chain. The map is intended to provide an overview of value streams, identify opportunities for improvement, highlight potential process bottlenecks that could hold up products or services from reaching customers as well as any gaps in processes. 

Value stream mapping can be used by companies in a product or service industry  for the following purposes:

– To understand workflows in the organisation and where improvements are needed 

– As a tool to help improve efficiency of value disruptions that occur. It also helps identify areas for improvement, eliminate redundant work by reducing batch sizes, or reducing cycle time between processes. 

– Helps create more responsive supply chain networks with customers

– Unlike process maps or flowcharts, a VSM shows significantly more information and uses a very different, linear format. The VSM enables teams and leadership to see where the value is created by looking at how the process changes over time rather than focusing on each step in isolation.

Benefits Of Value Stream Mapping

There are multiple benefits of  value stream mapping. A value stream map can help the team to:

Identifies Wastes

VSM helps your team to identify areas where value is not being created, but also the wastes that are creating value. It can help your team to identify and eliminate sources of waste in a process by looking at every step over time rather than limiting their focus on one area or stage.

Waste is any process that does not add value to the customer. In a sense, it’s anything your customers don’t want you to do. To visualise this concept of waste and see which processes are non-value adding for your business or task, graphically illustrate what needs to be done during its production cycle–all those activities needed in order for some goods (or service) to be produced from beginning until completion.

Makes Processes Efficient

A value stream map is more than just a colorful chart, because it labels and links material and information flows.

This activity allows the company to see where the actual value is being added or not in their process by determining the lead times between each point along with cycle times that allow them to improve efficiency associated with delivering an end product, while achieving desired goals which produces maximum output.

Value stream mapping strives for an efficient system that uses resources as needed and produces quality products.

VSM helps with process improvement by identifying value added time, value lost time and non-value adding activities. Mapping every step in the value stream so that an organisation can see where value is being unnecessarily wasted or created. 

What are the steps involved in VSM?

Step 1: Gather Preliminary Information

In a value stream mapping exercise , an organisation will need to identify value adding, value lost and non-value added activities. This is done by capturing preliminary information about the process on paper or electronically in a spreadsheet.

Step 2: Choose One Value Stream to Begin With

Choosing one VSM focus to start with can help you to find value quickly and to see value lost, value added and non-value adding activities in a process. 

Step 3: Start Mapping Your Process Steps

Start mapping your business flow of information and work. To draw the map, you can use

Pen & Paper – the simplest solution, just grab an A3 paper & a pencil and get to work.

mapping value stream

Workflow management software – custom solutions for mapping company workflows. Not only will you be able to plan your workflow, but also keep track of it with the help of the software.

Step 4: Identify the Seven Wastes of Lean

Constructing a value stream map is pointless without using it. Once you’ve created one, identify the seven wastes that may be costing your company inefficiencies and excess costs.

Information flow mapping can help you analyse the problems in your organisation so that you can provide more value for the customer.

Interesting Read: Six Sigma Explained – 5 Stages to Optimise Your Business

In creating the map, there are several value stream mapping symbols that are often used. We encourage you to start your Lean journey by keeping it simple and focusing on value stream mapping.

Value stream mapping is a powerful tool that can be used to improve the efficiency of any company. It’s easy, yet simple enough for anyone in your organisation!

You don’t need to go into the deep details of value-added and non-value added activities, just identify where they should occur in your organisation so that you can start making improvements.

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