7 Things You Must Know About Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping is a technique of lean manufacturing. It helps the development of best quality products or services. Here are 7 things you must know about value streaming.

Most people would associate “lean” with lean six sigma. However,  it is quite different from six sigma process mapping. Take a look at 7 different aspects that you should know before you adopt this broader and more efficient form of process mapping; which is referred to as the value stream mapping process! 

Be Ready for High Participation Cost

No doubt, value stream mapping is an effective tool of process improvement ; but then, the associated costs can be too high. The process requires high skilled team members who can practice very regularly. Here, the risk of opportunity costs is truly hard to calculate.   

Follow a “Step up the Ladder” Approach! 

Are you implementing the process for the first time ever? We would recommend that you start slow and then take up the pace gradually. Start by limiting the analysis size! Follow a simpler process and focus on achieving some early victories. Most essentially, apply the value stream mapping tool only when it applies to a particular situation. Otherwise, your entire investment will end up in a cost incurrent.

Would the Process really bring Improvement? 

Knowing your requirements and VSM efficiencies well is an essential prerequisite in its implementation. The following are the three foremost questions that you can answer to determine whether the process of value stream mapping would lead towards improvement or not: 

  • Does the project give rise to less work-in-progress?

  • Will the project allocate reduction in operating costs? 

  • What will be the projects’ contribution towards improving overall organizational efficiencies? 

Pick up the Right Lads

Involving all elements in the VSM process; especially the people who are have been closest to the actual work, is essential. The right labor force has to be present in all the key processes of creating the map. They have to be necessarily involved in the tactics used for defining the problems and crafting smarter solutions from the scratch. From seeing and learning to acting and improving... everything has to be done together. Another essential lookout is that the selected group of people should include customers, suppliers and doers alike.

Creeping the “Scope” is a Bad Idea

Sorting out the most important value streams, and identifying the streams that need improvement, cannot be rated as easy tasks at all. Once users can do this, they may rest assured that the used VSM processes are bound to impact organizational efficiencies positively. The efforts related to identifying where the value stream starts, and ends, would prevent plentiful unwanted risks. So, the best response is to address these issues way before starting the VSM exercise. 

Making the Process more Exciting

It is predominantly very important that you engage people in the improvement fundamentals that are personally attractive and meaningful to them. It is seldom noticed that organizations ignore the importance of being creative while designing the process framework or allotting task to the people involved. But these are very important factors for attaining success! Efforts like arranging for unique themed board meetings, using the pictures of all individuals involved in the process with their respective deeds, and sometimes taking the team out for a casino night, would certainly help a lot. In a gist, all that we want to say is that VSM can signify a story! So, tell it effectively and creatively for gaining  the best results.

The Follow-Up

Are you almost done with implementing the mapping exercises? This is just the perfect time to get the action team involved in rapid learning cycles. You may like to allot a time period of two to three weeks after the mapping process concludes.  Also, the crafting of quicker wins is also essential. At the same time, long range vision and thinking patterns are equally important. In this way, people will have a clear impression with regards to the path that can be taken after implementing the VSM process.  

A Brief Report on VSM

You know what creates the baseline of the VSM process? It’s the collection of process data. Get along with the team to collect data on essential facets like inventory, cycle time, change over time, up-time, operators number, shifts worked, net time available for work, scrap rate, pack or the pallet size, batch size, etc. 

Way Forward

Planning a series of improvements is the easiest way of generating the processes of VSM successfully. Get going on the lines suggested above for achieving your goals effectively!

All the best!   

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Uma Daga