“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading” by Lao Tzu
Value stream mapping (VSM) is a lean tool that looks to map your process from supplier to customer, highlighting the flows of product & information, foregrounds details like what process is taking place, who is engaged in the process, and how much time that process is taking and identifying delays & non-value adding processes. VSM is also referred to as value stream analysis, lean process mapping.
Value stream mapping offers a visual representation of the flow of materials & information throughout the organization, and this is a real eye-opener for top management. Several lean practitioners look at VSM as a basic tool to reduce process cycle times, identify waste & implement process improvement.
Value stream mapping is a flowchart method to illustrate, analyze & improve the steps needed to deliver a product or service. VSM helps users develop a strong implementation plan that will amplify their available resources & help to make sure that materials and time are used effectively. It’s essential to remember that customers care about the value of the product or service to them, not the efforts it took to produce it.
The real VSM template was generated by Toyota Motor Company and implemented via material and process flowcharts. This VSM demonstrated the important process steps that existed from order entry to final product delivery and helped obtain a broad view of the company’s activities. It allowed Toyota to eliminate non-value-added activities that generated waste while maintaining the manufacturing process.
The “value stream” in the VSM system focuses on how value can be added to a product or service by redoing the market form or function to meet the customer’s requirements. This includes adding more features and functionality to a product or service that benefits the customer without increasing wasted time and materials, leading bun effective transformation.
Value Stream Types
Value stream maps have 3 types: Current, Ideal, Future.
A current state map illustrates the high-level steps to develop a product or offer a service from customer order or request, until delivery back to the customer. It highlights what is happening today, not what should or could happen during the process of lean transformation. It’s necessary to understand the current state before trying to create ideal or future state maps.
The ideal state map illustrates the perfect process if there were no blockages in the process. Develop a short-term (with the week or a few weeks) map that is attainable with existing resources. The aim is to start to change the culture and make the positive change visible. The key here is to make a meaningful change, get a quick win and something achieved that people believe in VUCA.
Develop the desired future state & long-term vision. The team should be creative. The future state should be aligned with the company’s objective, mission, and vision. Of course, the company objectives should have Customer Satisfaction as a priority. The future map represents 6-12 months into the future.
The sequence is to create the current state, then the ideal state, then the future state. A current state map generates buy-in & understanding as to where we are. The creation of an ideal state jointly provides that shared vision that all can buy into & work towards. The creation of future state maps & related action plans helps to generate enhancements in quality transformation.
If you skip the ideal state, the team often sets a future state that is not as transformative. Future state maps offer a vision for where the service is lead in the future, which mentors all investment & decision making.
Also See- What Is Lean Concept?
What is the need for VSM?
- To generate a vision and direction for the company.
- Helps in waste identification & removing nonvalue add in the business process.
- If the workflow is transparent, the team can swiftly point out mistakes.
- By using the VSM steps, you can separately correct any step without disturbing the process flow.
- VSM can be used in any industry and all you need to know are the symbols & get going with paper and pencil.
The Objective of Value Stream Mapping
- The main aim of creating a VSM template is to show you the places where you can improve your process by visualizing both its value-adding & wasteful steps.
- Generate a highly visual map and learn the true flow of material and information.
- Decrease lead time & inventory.
What Does VSM Do?
- VSM excel graphically describes the flows of materials & information in a process. It shows the interaction among various organizational functions- both manufacturing as well as additional functions.
- Spots the problem areas, defects, inefficiencies, congestion more effectively. It even shows the cycle- times & delay time between various tasks.
- Includes all the stakeholders at every level of the process, so it becomes easy to develop and implement aids to ease cultural change during organization transformation.
- Continuous improvement is eased since the direction can be focused on lean transformation teams, front-line supervision & upper management.
When to use VSM?
- When the process is large & you are interested in improving the productivity of a large number of people.
- When you want to know the various inventories & inborn complexities of a process of quality transformation.
- When beginning on a Lean transformation journey & there is a need to find out the Lean opportunities in all your core processes.
How do we Value Stream Mapping?
Value stream mapping is a team process that must take place at the Gemba (the workplace), not within an office by an expert using data from written procedures about what should happen. Your value stream map should throw back precisely what does happen along with real current data regarding delays, stock levels, change over times, quality levels, and so forth. It is this map that will develop the basis for your improvements.
Sections of VSM
There are 3 main sections to VSM: Information flow, material flow, lead time ladder.
1. Information Flow
This top section of the VSM map is for the flow of information, materials to and from the customers, and Processor production Control. The mapping exercise starts with the Customers data. The customer takt times, name, location, part numbers, and all the pertinent information should be placed in the upper right corner of the map.
Process or Production Control is placed in the center at the top of the map. The Suppliers are generally placed in the upper left area of the map which includes names, frequency of delivery, description of parts supplied & amount delivered, eventually leading to effective transformation.
2. Material Flow
The middle section contains the end-to-end process by which you will produce the product – the process of picking up the raw material from a supplier and delivering the final product to the customer. This is where the material flows. It includes the Data Boxes, manpower ratios, inventory level, and type of movement.
3. Lead Time Ladder
The bottom section consists of time taken for each & every process step which is called uptime and time between two process steps which are called downtime. You will try to eliminate downtime as you also spend time distinguishing Value add from Non-Value Add.
Value-Added + Non-Value-Added Time = Total Process Time.
Value-Added time is presented on the lower line. Non-Value-Added Time is presented on the upper line. Most teams are often surprised when presented with this data and it begins to visually illustrate the opportunity.
Value Stream Mapping Software
You don’t need any advanced tools or software to create a VSM template flow chart, as you can easily map one out on a whiteboard. But creating a value stream map can be a lengthy process, so you might want to invest in software designed to make the process easier.
VSM excel software can help you create flow charts, keep everyone informed & offer cooperation and visualization features that make it easy for everyone to stay on task.
Some famous VSM excel software tools to help you get started:
- Microsoft Visio.
- Visual Paradigm Online.
- Evan Software.
Value Stream Mapping Symbols-
How to create a value stream map?
1. Identify the Product or Product Family
Initially, you need to decide what it is exactly that you wish to map. In a company with several products, there may have to be some initial work done to identify which product or family group of products should be mapped. You generally put together a team to do the mapping and analysis, depending on the size of the initiative.
This is just a review of products & which processes they go through. Utilize a Pareto analysis to decide which products you want to analyze. This analysis can help grouping products that share common routing. Your value stream mapping steps can help you to focus on either a single product or a family of them sharing common processes.
2. Create a Current State Map
The first step is to select the product or product family, decide on the goal of improvement and provide training to the team for value stream mapping. A cross-functional team should be selected. After team selection, the physical path of the material flow should be walked through. While walking through all the material flow paths, observe & note down all the communication points carefully. It will help in preparing the current map.
- Identify the Beginning & Endpoints of your Process – In a value stream analysis, it starts from the moment a consumer requests to the moment when they receive the product.
- Draw the Process Flow – Now, map your process involving sub steps. It’s helpful to track the flow of one unit (product or service) going through the process. Note down areas that need inputs or outputs.
- Include Metrics for Every Step – The measures you take depends on the type of project you are doing in VUCA. Before measuring you may want to verify your measuring systems first. Collecting this data can be time-consuming. No matter what you measure you might want to test your measurement tools.
3. Design Future State
Define what we want to attain the target so that we can focus on attaining the future state. Rather than striking each problem point separately, now sketch out an ideal state map, describing objectives for the items that lead to a leaner, more efficient process. This vision needs to be agreed upon by the leadership & becomes the main goal of the VSM excel project.
Use the kaizen event symbol on your current state map to communicate the coming improvements. In the future state, reduce the waiting time so that performance will Increase.
4. Create an Implementation Plan
How can we remove, or avoid those wastes we identified? Before implementing the future state value stream map, socialize & obtain agreement from all the stakeholders engaged. Continually monitor the results in key metrics and implement further adjustments as necessary. Training should be conveyed to the staff based on the new procedures and needs. Ultimately, the implementation of the changes should be eased on a descending priority basis.
Check out the Video–
Use of VSM in Various Fields
- Manufacturing: To find waste in the production process by analyzing each step of material handling & information flow. In manufacturing, Materials are your items. This is where lean methodology began in the 1950s at Toyota.
- Healthcare: To improve the steps needed to treat patients in the most efficient, cost-effective, timely, high-quality way possible.
- Supply Chain & Logistics: To root out waste and expensive delays at several points on the supply chain leading to finished product.
- Service Industries: To improve the value and find waste in the activities needed to carry out any service for external customers.
- Software Engineering/Development: Finding failures in software development, from idea to implementation, including feedback loops and rework.
Value Stream Mapping aims to reduce non-value-added activities from the processes in an organization and bring the value-added activities into the lead to more efficiently reach target objectives. Often, waste-eliminating practices deliver significant cost reductions through low-cost or no-cost improvements.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) How is value stream mapping relevant to manufacturing?
To find waste in the production process by analyzing each step of material handling & information flow. In manufacturing, Materials are your items. This is where lean methodology began in the 1950s at Toyota.
2) What are the 3 types of VSM?
Value stream maps have 3 types: Current, Ideal, Future.
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