Value Stream Mapping (VSM)

Value stream mapping (VSM) - toolshero

This article explains Value Stream Mapping in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful problem solving and continuous improvement tool.
What is Value Stream Mapping?
In a Value Stream Mapping business processes are analysed and identified. The sequences of the activities that create a product or service are analysed and a value is assigned to each separate activity.

Value Stream Analysis is also known as LEAN Manufacturing Value Stream Mapping.
Process improvement
The objective of VSM is a continuous improvement of business processes. The business process is represented diagrammatically. The steps in the process and the flows of information and materials are represented visually in this diagram.

The diagram identifies where improvements need to be made in the process. As a joint idea is created by using the current situation including waste, employees will better understand each other’s work and problems.

Furthermore, VSM is a good model to work towards a future situation.
Value Stream Mapping steps
Before analysing the current situation, the objective of the analysis must be determined first, for instance decreasing lead times or improving quality.

It is important that the objectives are acceptable to the employees. Subsequently, the customer value per product is identified. Then a team is formed that will be involved in the value and information stream activities. The following step-by-step plan can then be used:

Identify the activities (process steps) and assign the right order.
Determine frameworks for the roles of the activity.
The data on processing, waiting and recovering times of an activity can be determined. The extent to which an activity is completed correctly the first time is expressed as a percentage.
The efficiency of the process is calculated (operation time versus lead time)
Waste in the entire process is identified.

Source image: https://www.edrawsoft.com
Identifying waste
The objective of a Value Stream Mapping is to provide an overview of the current situation and to identify waste. The source of waste will surface when the ideal and future value stream is detailed. Eight types of waste can be identified:
Waiting
It is wasteful when machines and/or employees must wait before activities can be carried out. Examples: inventory shortage, no instructions and waiting for decisions.
Transport
An inefficient flow of commodities, products, documents creat...

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