Value stream mapping is a lean management strategy that analyzes the series of events required to transform a raw material into a deliverable product for the consumer. You might ask, “why do we need such a management strategy?”
This is done to identify wastes in the current manufacturing process and the insight is used to design a new approach that reduces waste. Waste, in this case, doesn’t only apply to unwanted resources. According to Daniel T. Jones, there are seven common types of waste.
If you already have a six sigma process in use at your organization, you might not see the need to consider value stream mapping. But there are significant differences between the two. Four ways in which they differ are;
This is the million-dollar question on every manager’s lips. Do you have to wait until you’re a behemoth organization like Toyota before you consider utilizing value stream mapping? The answer is a simple no. You need to draw the map but first it’s important to know all your processes, workflows, product times, wastes… The more information you have, the easier it is for you to draw it. So if we would have to guess, we would say that having a solution that gives you full insight and visibility on your shop floor would be the first thing to do.
You’ve finally decided to eliminate waste, here’s how you go about it.
No one leaves their house on a journey without having a destination in mind. Similarly, it is important to have a well-defined end point at the beginning. This will give you an overview of the whole process (the bigger picture) and will help you ensure oneness of purpose.
In doing this, know that the value stream map begins from the moment you receive the materials and it ends when you deliver the finished product to the consumer. This simplifies the process greatly, doesn’t it?
Now that you have a start point and an end point, determine the steps you need to take to get to the end from the beginning. For example, a company concerned with automobile production will have steps like fabrication, assembly, testing, etc.
This is one advantage VSM has over other conventional methods of management. You can include specific information on each process and go into detail. This will, without a doubt, cause coherence and unity in the organization.
From the 3 steps highlighted above, you can now go deeper into individual processes. This is when you see the inventory items for each process, the cycle time, how long it takes to transfer, how many people are needed, etc.
The data collected above can now be used to improve the map. There should be data blocks that show the lead time required to manufacture and deliver a product. This can also be compared to the actual time it takes the organization.
You just learned about waste in this article, right? Wonderful! Now put the knowledge to good use. Identify how you’re losing money and make necessary changes.
Constant iteration, rinsing, and repeating the processes above is the journey to perfection. The goal is not to have a perfect VSM from the start, however, you will begin to notice an improvement in your business as you put this map to work.
Just like any exciting strategy, it is only effective when it is done properly. If you would like to discuss how you we can help you implementing a value stream map that works (and you should!), do not hesitate to contact us here.