Value Stream Mapping

Value Stream Mapping is a method of visually mapping a product's production path (materials and information) from "door to door". VSM can serve as a starting point to help management, engineers, production associates, schedulers, suppliers, and customers recognize waste and identify its causes. The process includes physically mapping your "current state" while also focusing on where you want to be, or your "future state" blueprint, which can serve as the foundation for other Lean improvement strategies.

A value stream is all the actions (both value added and non-value added) currently required to bring a product through the main flows essential to every product:

  • the production flow from raw material into the arms of the customer
  • the design flow from concept to launch

Taking a value stream perspective means working on the big picture, not just individual processes, and improving the whole, not just optimizing the parts.

Within the production flow, the movement of material through the factory is the flow that usually comes to mind. But there is another flow - of information - that tells each process what to make or do next. You must map both of these flows.

Value Stream Mapping can be a communication tool, a business planning tool, and a tool to manage your change process. The first step is drawing the current state, which is done by gathering information on the shop floor. This provides the information needed to map a future state. The final step is to prepare and begin actively using an implementation plan that describes, on one page, how you plan to achieve the future state.

Read more about how the Kaizen Institute has helped customers use Value Stream Mapping to identify muda in their Current State and design a Future State that focuses on Adding Value for the customer.

How to map a process using value stream mapping

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