Value Stream Mapping is a lean management method which consists of studying the current state as well as designing the future state of events which take place from the beginning of a product or service launch till it reaches the customer. Value Stream Mapping also is known as material and information flow mapping.
What is Value Stream Mapping?
Value stream mapping helps to provide us with a visual depiction of essential steps and the relevant data for each level to understand and decide accordingly the improvements needed to make the process more efficient. It focuses on the entire process rather than a single step.
It is a graphic representation of all critical steps which take place during the process of product launch until it reaches the customer and also displays the time is taken and volume required for each level. The representation is of both the number of materials and information as the progression takes place.
The term is synonymous with Value chain, but the primary difference in the value chain and value stream is that value stream focuses on areas of the organization which may add value to a service or a product, and value chain, on the other hand, focuses on all activities in a company. A standard set of symbols are used in value stream mapping to show the workstream and the flow of information.
This process can be used to improve any process, especially where there are multiple handoffs. This is true, especially in the case of a manufacturing plant where there are many handoffs given from one person to another or one department to another.
For example, if there is a problem in the assembly line of a laptop, the workers in the flow can stop and have a look at the problem, solve it and then get the work flowing back. The Mapping is handy, especially in cases where the process is extremely complex. Value stream mapping can be created for every product or service irrespective of the nature of the business.
Also, one company can have multiple value streams to make their processes efficient.
Types of Value Stream mapping
There are two types of value stream maps, which are the current state and future state. As the name suggests, the current steam is used to determine the current state of the process, while the future state is used to determine the future state of the process.
The future state assumes everything to be ideal and shows the results while the present state shows the current state of the events, and nothing is assumed. Instead, everything is more accurate since it uses facts and not assumptions.
The current value stream maps should be created before future value stream maps. The observation method is used to develop the current stream map by analyzing and tracking material and information flow.
The expansion of business is getting very competitive with every passing day. This is why, to keep up with the expectations and the demands of the customers, dedicated development teams who work faster and efficient. Actuation and demands can impact these development teams.
This is why having a value stream mapping activity will help these teams to coordinate better, and that’s the actuation of demand will have less impact on their workings and development process.
The primary objective of registry mapping is to identify the needs of the customer and solve the problems. This is done in an efficient way possible. The value stream map gives the most efficient way and the least expensive to solve the problem and get the result. It is beneficial in providing a solution to stakeholders and leaders.
It takes into consideration the views of all the team members who are involved in making the weather stream mapping, which makes the contributions more holistic. The team gains excellent clarity and understanding about their customers and the process by participating in value stream mapping.
Since all the team members are involved in improving the process once it is developed, it will reduce the firefighting situations during the process. This will make it easy, and the customer will be able to plan accurately about the schedules and delivery of the product to the end customer.
Sections and Terminologies
There is a lot of information in a value stream map, and it needs a lot of analysis and review before one can understand the information. There are three key sections in a value stream map, and they are color differentiated. They are:
- Information Flow
- Product Flow
- Lead time Ladder
Let us have a look at each of them one by one:
1. Information flow
This section depicts the flow of information and the flow of data. The information and data collected from external sources are studied and analyzed by a center point and is then relayed selectively ahead or discarded. These selections may be based on the terms and conditions of the organization.
The discarded information is sometimes sent back to the information generator and is asked to rework. For example, a customer service executive takes in all the information of the customers and their requests and processes and forwards only those orders which fulfill the organizational criteria.
The criteria may be payment terms, previous history of the customer, or any such data relevant to the organization and is related to the product. The processed orders are forwarded to the warehouse for further processing, and the discarded orders are sometimes sent back to the sales team, which reworks on the orders.
There is a lot of information passing through various stages, and as it crosses a particular stage or station, more information may be added before sending ahead.
2. Product Flow
The second section of the value stream map shows the product flow. This section depicts the development of a product from its inception to its delivery. Some value stream maps also make a provision for after-sales. Various symbols and boxes represent the importance of the product flow in the value stream map. For example, a blue box is shown for a task being performed.
The yellow triangle represents the queue of waiting at every stage during the process. There are few dotted arrows from one section to the other, which are called Push arrows.
Product flow can be used to understand the flow of product during the process and the various stages determine the approximate timings required to complete a particular task.
3. Time Ladder
The time ladder provides a simple visual representation of a timeline. An average amount of time is determined by the upper portion of the time ladder and the feature which it spends in the queue in each stage or waiting at each gate.
The lower part, on the other hand, represents the average amount of time in which each feature has been worked upon. It also shows the value that adds at each stage of the product movement through various stages.
Various terms in Value stream map
1. Cycle Time
It is the frequency presented in units/features. It can also be determined by the average time between completed production to the finished product of the next.
2. Setup Time
The average amount of time required to prepare for a step is called Setup Time. The time also includes the duration necessary to understand the requirement and then confirm it.
Uptime is the total time a system remains active or up. It also shows system uptime or availability time of the employee.
4. Lead time
It is the average amount of time which is required for one particular feature of a product to pass through from start to end. The time is measured from concept development to delivery.
5. Takt time
This is a term that is commonly used in value stream mapping and refers to the rate at which the products need to be produced to meet the demands of the customers
6. Kaizen Burst
It is also known as Kaizen Blitz, which is nothing but a burst of team activity focused on solving specific problems that are involved or faced during the value stream mapping. While the purpose of Mapping is to plan and identify the intention of Kaizen Burst is to achieve a substantial solution.
How to create a Value Stream Map?
1. Product identification
A slice of a product is to be identified, which has a large business with you because it will be easier to establish its role during conducting and visualizing a value stream map.
2. Empowering the team
The next step in creating a value stream mapping is to enable an experienced team who is experienced and is skillful enough to finish the map within the given time frame. There should be enough budget I located so that the execution is swift, smooth, and uninterrupted.
3. Decide the problem
The next up is to decide the problem that you are solving, and it can be from customers standpoint or the company standpoint. The problem can be anything like requesting a reduction in price or increasing in quality or quantity without affecting the price.
The problem statement should be published prominently, and it is to be ensured that every team member understands the problem and is on the same page.
4. Bound the Process
Once the team is selected, and the problem is decided and established, then the scope of the value stream map is limited accordingly. The release process may not need to be mapped, and the focus can be shifted to a particular area instead.
5. Mapping the process
It is expected that the person in charge goes through the bonding process himself because it can make a difference having a first-hand experience. The narratives on the documentation done by others and by self do make a difference in the process.
Once the steps are defined, it is expected that the manager does a few reworks himself of the Mapping. The Mapping is to be done stepwise by the use of standard designations, as mentioned above.
6. Collecting the process data
Once the value stream mapping is completed, the process data is noted into the data boxes which are present on the map. The process data may include the average number of working hours or the number of people along with cycle time or wait time of timer downtime and things like that.
7. Understand the current map
Once the map is plotted, understand its intricacies. Like is the lead time taking too long to materialize, and if yes, then is there an alternative or parallel way to run it.
Are the results are reproducible and can the steps be reduced to increase productivity and reduce the time so that the results are delivered faster.
8. Designing a future Map
This is why it is to be ensured that the current map is aligned with the future vision and mission of the company so that it can be termed as a future map as well.
9. Implementing the future map
Once the value stream mapping is followed and validated, then it is to be implemented so that it makes sense for the internal as well as external customers of the organization.
The ultimate aim of the registry map is that it should have solved the problem that is defined. The manager should monitor the key performance indicators regularly and understand the trends so that necessary changes can be made to optimize and make the VSM more efficient.
- The ultimate aim of value stream mapping is to form a sustainable business that can run for a long time. Avoiding waste is one of the prime criteria of value stream mapping.
- Most of the value stream mapping aims at reducing the waste and discovering the essential cause and the root of the waste. Once the problem is addressed, not only the waste is eliminated, but also the process is improved.
- Once these problems child is found out and addressed, the teams can work on improving their outcome and efficiently optimizing the value stream mapping.
- Individual opinions in the teams are discarded, and the privatization is given based only on the customers’ perspective.
- The return on investment on whether stream mapping can go on a toss. It is essential to keep an eye during the entire process so that the return on investment is not compromised while conducting the value stream mapping.
- Involving experienced people in doing a value stream mapping requires money. This is why the process of registering Mapping can be expensive.
- Improving an appropriate step in value stream mapping can impact other steps as well. And once the impact is made, improving the other steps will take even more time, which will make the process of registry mapping very lengthy.