What is Value stream Mapping?
A Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is all the ACTIONS (both value-added and non-value-added) currently required to bring a product through the production, information flow across boundaries from raw material into the arms of the customer. It is a pencil & paper tool that helps you to see and understand the flow of material and information as a product makes its way through the stream.
When setting out on the journey to become a Lean organization many organizations miss the true importance of utilizing Value Stream Mapping. Value stream mapping has emerged as a preferred tool to identify process improvement opportunities.
VSM shows the current and future state of processes in a way that highlights opportunities for improvement. It is a lean manufacturing technique used to analyze and design the flow of materials and information required to bring a product or service to a consumer. It is a pencil & paper tool that helps you to see and understand the flow of material and information as a product makes its way through the stream.
Material & Information flow
- Within the production flow
- One flow is – movement of material
- Other flow is – movement of information that tells each process what to make or do next
- In lean manufacturing the information flow is treated with just as much importance as material flow
- Material and Information flow are two sides of the same coin
Levels of mapping the value stream (for product family)
- Process Level
- Single plant (door to door)
- Multiple plants
- Across companies
Symbols & Icons used for Mapping
List of typical process data
Points to remember
A number of points can be made about applying Value Stream Mapping to the project selection across range of industries and processes. They are as follows:
- Understand the goal of applying VSM
- Understand the real constraints
- Focus on key projects that help achieve the goal
- Define the options
- Integrate existing initiatives into the plan
- Be creative
- Establish a direction for the company’s improvement efforts – maps become the blueprints for the lean transformation.
- Target Kaizen activities for bigger and more sustainable impact.
- Gain a better understanding of the linkages between material and information flow.
- Visualize improvements to the overall production flow, instead of spot improvements to single processes.
- Create the basis for an effective lean implementation plan by designing how a facility’s door-to-door material and information flow could operate.
- Give operators, engineers and managers common language and process for continuous improvement
Source: Book by Mike Rother & John Shook