Lean methodologies can help you optimize the people, resources, effort, and energy of your organization to create value for your customer. Lean methodology puts the customer first and drives all your business processes. Using lean methodologies can help businesses not only grow but excel by exceeding customer expectations.
To get started, businesses need to understand each of the processes used in their day-to-day operations. An effective tool to do this is value stream mapping (VSM). An interesting statistic determined by value stream mapping is that <5% of the total lead time for a process is considered a value-add. Imagine streamlining a process to just the necessary components – what a savings that would represent in terms of resources!
Value stream mapping combines several lean manufacturing strategies into one powerful methodology to visualize every step in your process to find ways to improve. Value stream mapping gives you the tools to identify where time is wasted, how resources can be divided for efficiency, and what processes can be eliminated.
What is value stream mapping?
Value stream mapping can help you understand why your processes aren’t working as they should and how to fix them – ultimately creating more value with less waste. It’s a technique to improve the efficiency of manufacturing businesses by emphasizing process flow and simplifying work tasks. This technique will help you identify and eliminate unnecessary steps in your process that slow down production.
By creating a value stream map, you can see the big picture of your process and quickly pinpoint problem areas. VSM is also a valuable tool for communicating process improvements to your team.
VSM clarifies both physical and information flow within an organization. It aims to create a visual representation of where time, materials, and money are being spent. There are several benefits to VSM, including identifying bottlenecks in processes, improving communication between departments, and reducing waste by eliminating unused steps in a workflow.
Why should you use value stream mapping?
Though it’s easy to assume that improving a business is as simple as increasing productivity, many managers find that productivity is difficult to measure. And methods for increasing productivity often seem out of reach. Using the VSM tool, businesses can quickly identify problem areas.
The goal of VSM is to increase productivity to exceed customer expectations. Ultimately, this increases revenue. Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, choose just one component in the process to begin to implement changes.
Focusing on one change at a time rather than multiple changes in multiple places at once will help you stay focused so that you can reach your goals.
What information does a value stream map show?
A value stream map is a flowchart that shows the steps involved in the process and the decisions made along the way. It is a valuable tool for understanding how a process works and identifying where bottlenecks and waste exist.
How to perform a value stream map analysis?
Value stream mapping is a powerful tool that can help you identify and eliminate waste in your process. Depending on how in-depth you want your value stream map to be, there are two primary ways to perform a VSM: paper-based or computerized.
A paper-based map (also known as a pen and paper diagram) is a low-tech option that can be useful for getting started or quickly brainstorming possible changes. On the other hand, if you expect several people to work on or reference your value stream map, it might make sense to invest in automated software designed explicitly for VSM mapping.
Once you have identified and defined your goals, mapped out your value stream, identified potential issues, and brainstormed possible solutions for those issues, you’re already well on your way with your analysis.
During the analysis, you’ll identify potential barriers to efficiency. Part of the analysis is to draw a new and improved value stream map based on findings. Refer to the revised map to draft a plan to make improvements.
Tips for creating a VSM
Creating a value stream map can be a helpful way to understand and improve the flow of materials and information in a manufacturing or production process. Here are some tips:
- Identify the main processes in the manufacturing or production process.
- Identify the main steps within each process.
- Identify the main inputs and outputs for each step.
- Map the material and information flow between input and output.
Examples of VSM outputs
VSM mapping is an excellent way to identify obstacles that are slowing down your operations and discover actionable steps. Using VSM can improve organizational workflow and decision-making – for current employees and new or future hires. As a team, review each step in the process to identify areas to optimize.
A few possible changes include:
- Creating new positions or modifying responsibilities.
- Automating certain processes or tasks.
- Outsourcing manual work to a third party and more.
It’s important to remember to look at the effectiveness of your team as you’re evaluating your map. Ask yourself — and your employees — if you’re taking advantage of their full capacity. Employees have valuable skills to add to the process. Sometimes, simple shifts in who does what can make a big difference.
Benefits of value stream mapping
Value stream mapping is a powerful tool that can help businesses improve their operations and become more efficient. Here are just some of the benefits:
- Improved visibility of the manufacturing process. VSM provides a clear and concise view of the manufacturing process from start to finish. Using this visual reference can help identify wasteful and inefficient areas to make improvements to benefit the overall process.
- Increased efficiency. By identifying and eliminating waste in the manufacturing process, VSM can increase efficiency and productivity. In turn, this can help businesses reduce costs and improve standing in the marketplace (increase their competitive edge).
- Enhanced customer satisfaction. Improving the efficiency of the manufacturing process can lead to improved customer satisfaction. When products are produced faster, and with fewer defects, customers are likely to be happier with the overall experience.
- Expanded flexibility. VSM helps businesses gain flexibility in business operations. By understanding the flow of materials and information throughout the manufacturing process, businesses can make changes more easily and quickly in response to customer demands or changing market conditions.
Overall, VMS is a valuable tool that can significantly help businesses make improvements to improve their success.
What are the drawbacks of value stream mapping?
You should be aware of a few downsides to value stream mapping.
- VSM requires some technical literacy and basic coordination skills. Although one individual can do it, most companies choose to appoint a team that works together to create the final product.
- VSM is extremely high-level. While it can help you identify issues with your process, it’s hard to determine which ones are more important than others.
- VSM is a visual tool. It can be difficult for decision-makers without training or experience with lean concepts or visualization tools to use it effectively.
Improve your operations using DEAR Systems
Value stream mapping is a powerful tool that can help you understand and improve the flow of value through your business. By creating a map of the process, you can identify bottlenecks and problems that may be affecting your business. Additionally, value stream mapping can help you create a more efficient workflow and improve communication between departments.
If your company is experiencing bottlenecks in its manufacturing operations, DEAR Systems can help. DEAR Systems offers real-time information about your manufacturing process, so you can easily audit and identify the root cause of bottlenecks. It also offers a bird’s-eye view of the inventory utilization and production costs which will help you make better business decisions.
To learn how DEAR Systems can help your business, schedule a demo today.