Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a LEAN tool that identifies waste, reduces process cycle times, and implements process improvement. The tool uses a flowchart to document every step in the lean journey. “VSM is an essential tool for any company wanting to plan, achieve and improve workplace efficiency. It allows users to create a sound implementation plan that will optimize their available resources and make sure that time and materials are used efficiently.”-Sanjay Nag, Lean Practitioner.

The Goal of VSM
 The value stream mapping can meet a variety of goals. It can have very different strategic functions when created and implemented at the practitioner level and when created and implemented at the leadership level.
“The goal of VSM is to provide a tool to help transform the process from what is happeing to what should be happening.”-Mayur Goyal, Six Sigma Specialist.

Opt for the most recommended Six Sigma Certification Course for detailed learning and understanding.

The “value stream” part of the tool focuses on adding value to a service or a product by transforming the market function to satisfy the customer’s needs. 

The features and functionalities added to the service or the product should benefit the customers without wasting time and materials.


How to plan VSM?
 Let’s go through the 6 steps to plan a facility level map. You can then move on to an extended level map, depending on the number of plants or customers you want to include.

 Step#1: Create a team to plan VSM.

Create a team of managers and representatives from different departments who will ensure that information is shared freely and nothing important is missed. You can add important suppliers in the team to get an outside perspective.

 Step#2: Start VSM planning- The Kaizen Kick-Off.

The team members hold a 3-day kaizen event to start developing present and future plans. At the event, the team must- 

  • Establish the process family
  • Prepare the current status map
  • Establish and prepare the future status map 
  • Create a plan to reach the future status

Step#3: Establish the process family.

The team will determine a group of products or services that undergo similar processing steps.

 Step#4: Prepare the current status map.

The team will collect the data about the process by “walking the flow” or “going to Gemba” means going to the area where the work is being done. 
 The team will interview people who carry out the task to identify the major challenges faced. They will use this information to draw the value stream map.

 Step#5: Establish and prepare the future status 

The team will determine the takt time and constraints. Check how the inventories can be reduced. Find out how you can improve the flow and what are the improvements required.  Put a sticky note (kaizen burst) on the VSM around items to indicate improvement is required. Items can include low equipment reliability, long changeover times, large batches, any wastage and over-processing. 

Step#6: Create a plan to reach the future status.

The team will create a draft plan that will include the project details, name of the project head, team members, a plan (or Gantt chart) of processes and deliverables, a cost estimate of costs, the goals, impact and the benefits.
 Value stream mapping is a simple method to analyse a process and determine areas that need improvement. Download this VSMExcel Template to conduct Values Stream Mapping. 

It includes Value Added Time, Business Value Added Time, Cycle time, Non-Value Added Time, TAKT time,  Process Cycle Efficiency (PCE), Process Value, Average Work in Progress (WIP), FTEs and Labor Costs.

TIP of the Day: Control charts (X-Bar and R Charts) are useful in a manufacturing or production environment to control, examine, and improve a process.

What is VSM?

Value stream mapping is a flowchart method to illustrate, analyze and improve the steps required to deliver a product or service, It is a lean tool that identifies waste, reduces process cycle times, and implements process improvement.

How to plan VSM?

VSM planning can be done in the following steps Create a team of managers, Establish the process family, Prepare the current status map, Establish and prepare the future status map, Create a plan to reach the future status.

How VSM is used in different fields?

Manufacturing – to find waste in the production process, Supply chain – to root out waste and costly delays at the various points. VSM is also useful to find inefficiencies in software development, service industry, Health care and administrative works.

What are the key tips for VSM?

The idea is to simply ask why something is done as it is. To the response, another why is asked. This continues until you drill down to the ultimate basis for the action. Try doing it in reverse, from end product or service to its origins.

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