Creating a value stream map is often one of the first steps TechSolve’s Business Advisory experts prepare when assessing a new project or tackling another area with an existing client. Why? Because a value stream map is just that informative on how to identify problems within a process sequence and address long-term solutions for output that’s sustainable and profitable.
The Purpose of a Value Stream Map
Value Stream Mapping is a proven Lean technique and is useful in any industry or business in which items must pass through multiple departments and/or phases before delivery to the customer. The purpose of a value stream map is to view the entirety of a process flow from start to finish and create a plan to optimize efforts in getting the company to its desired outcomes.
By illustrating the current state, a value stream map allows you to know where there are current gaps. Once you establish inefficient or undesirable activities, you can identify opportunities in a future state map and develop an implementation plan to achieve your goals.
This type of assessment is a critical element of Lean Manufacturing that helps to align the company’s resources to streamline informational or manufacturing processes within a specified timeframe.
No matter your industry, whether you’re processing raw materials, manufacturing physical goods, developing software, handling administrative paperwork, or managing employees, Value Stream Mapping helps your company perform more efficiently.
The Benefits of Value Stream Mapping
When conducting a Value Stream Mapping activity, four benefits occur regardless of industry type or level of the organization being mapped.
Benefit #1: Value Stream Mapping Identifies Wastes
Value Stream Mapping is a powerful, visual planning tool that diagrams both the current state (what’s happening now) and the future state (ideal workflow) that takes an item from start to finish. What is important to note is a value stream map helps to identify wastes that are occurring within an entire process sequence from supplier to customer, or from an unstarted state to completion.
Waste is commonly defined as any action or step in a value stream sequence that does not add value to the customer. Essentially, waste is any process within the value stream that the customer does not want to pay for. By graphically illustrating your value stream, or all the activities needed during the generation of the product or task, you can better recognize which activities are non-value adding.
But Value Stream Mapping helps you see more than just waste.
Benefit #2: Value Stream Mapping Makes Processes Efficient
More than just a colorful chart, a value stream map labels and links material and information flows. In this way, a value stream map determines a takt time, lead time, and cycle times between each point along the process. This activity allows the company to see where the actual value is being added, or not added, in the process, allowing them to improve the overall efficiency associated with the delivery of the end product to produce maximum output and achieve desired goals.
Value Stream Mapping strives for an efficient and quality-focused system that uses the resources exactly as needed and produces products and/or services that achieve desired goals.
Benefit #3: Value Stream Mapping Aligns Cross-Functional Teams for Greater Buy-In
Value Stream Mapping includes all the interdepartmental stakeholders who are involved with the various process stages. A surprising benefit people don’t readily associate with Value Stream Mapping is that the practice of mapping out current states and future states aligns the entire company or division section on common goals. The greatest results are achieved when gathering a cross-functional team, or at least buy-in, from upper management, through middle management to the operations, administration, sales and logistics teams to take part.
As a result, the people involved are able to view the process at the company level versus through a tunnel-vision perspective from his/her department or job responsibilities. Thus, creating a shared understanding of the current state places focus and priority on improving the core process that generates revenue in order to move to the ideal workflow in the future state.
Benefit #4: Value Stream Mapping Provides Center Point for Conversation on Future Growth
After a value stream map is complete, and the stakeholders are in alignment, the map can inform a larger conversation relating to the future vision of the company and establishes shared goals for growth. The increased efficiency and cost savings from eliminating wastes, or simply having a greater understanding of the process, helps to aid those conversations and in turn develop plans to take a big step forward to the ideal future state.
Value Stream Mapping Gets You Focused on Doing the Right Things
Value Stream Mapping seeks to lessen non-value added activities from the processes and bring the value-added activities into the forefront to more efficiently reach target goals. Often, waste eliminating practices deliver significant cost reductions through low-cost or no-cost improvements. Many continuous improvement practices focus on eliminating non-value adding activities and this typically requires rethinking current practices and not significant capital investment. In other words, if you focus on doing the right things, the cost savings come along for the ride.
- Value Stream Mapping can be used in any industry at any level of the company.
- A value stream map is more than a colorful diagram, but identifies wastes (non-value added activities) and informs where areas and processes can be improved upon to achieve desired goals.
- For a value stream map to be successful, involve all the key stakeholders within the process from upper management to line workers.
- Often solutions resulting from a value stream map exercise result in low-cost to no-cost improvements such as rethinking current practices.
- Value Stream Mapping can be a simple, yet powerful tool to develop an ideal state for strategic planning.
It helps to work with experts to help bridge the gap between your current state maps and future state maps, and help create a successful action plan using a mix of Lean tools. It won’t happen overnight, but getting started and headed in the right direction is key.
[Recording Available] Free Webinar On How To Create a Value Stream Map for Your Company
This webinar will lead you through Value Stream Mapping techniques to identify problems in your current state that are hindering profits, such as:
- Losing customers due to slow delivery times
- Incurring large amounts of finished goods while waiting for orders
- Too little profit margin based on what it costs your manufacturing company to produce.
TechSolve’s Business Advisory Team will help you to visualize your manufacturing process to identify key problem areas and then implement process improvement techniques to reduce waste and process cycle times, decrease lead and delivery time, and overall, to create sustainable business solutions for your company.