What is Value stream mapping
As part of any improvement imitative it’s important to understand the business processes – the core of what’s happening within the organization. At its core - process mapping helps describe activities that process inputs and deliver outputs. Value stream mapping takes this process further by analyzing key workflow – material and information and presenting them along with process steps diagrammatically.
Whilst value stream mapping is more complicated to construct than other process maps it has the benefit of containing much more information than a standard map.
As value stream mapping helps portray areas of waste it represents an ideal way to identify improvement projects.
The following link has a How to guide on Visual Stream Mapping - There is a standard process to follow when producing value stream maps which usually follows these steps.
* Determining what function you will map (eg. Manufacturing process)
* Sequentially Draw the process flow, add the material and information flow.
* Collect and add process data (eg times, inventory) to the chart
* Verify Map
To ensure readability when adding process data to the map – it’s usual to follow standards for example when counting process time – ensure that the units are the same throughout the map – i.e. days, hours. This ensures that the resultant map is easy to follow and understand.
Where value stream mapping is used, it’s common to use the map as a visual reference for the business activity and often the map is taped to the wall alongside reference material associated with the process such as printed output documents or photographs of excess inventory.
In summary, value stream mapping is a valuable process mapping tool that can help organizations understand complex relationships within processes whilst acting as a launch point for improvement projects.