Value Stream Mapping

A value stream is the sequence of all activities required to bring value to customers. The name value stream infers the value flows to customers along streamlined processes, which is an ideal seldom seen in reality. In reality value streams are cluttered with non-added value processes, tasks and steps.

Nevertheless such value streams deliver value, they could deliver it more efficiently with less expenses and efforts.

That’s where Value Stream Mapping comes in. Value Stream Mapping, VSM in short, is a value stream description method for analyzing its current state.

The first outcome of a VSM is a “process” or value stream map made with “standard” symbols, in order to give a synthetic overview of the whole process.

A VSM displays physical and information flows on the same map. Therefore an alternate name is “Material and Information Flow mapping” or MIFA for “Material and Information Flow Analysis”.

The map displays the current state and is only description. It needs to be analyzed in order to understand what hinders the smooth, continuous and swift flowing of value towards the customer.

Hindrances come as flaws in the process, loops for rework, too many inventories, sub optimized bottlenecks, quality issues, constraints, policies, inappropriate rules and many more.

Once the VSM analyzed and the improvement points defined, it is time to draw the ideal future state, known as Value Stream Design (VSD).

The way to close the gap between VSM and VSD is to carry out the action plan.

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