Value stream mapping (VSM) is a valuable lean-manufacturing tool, and is well suited for a broad range of industries and processes. Lean practitioners of all levels use VSM to evaluate their practices.
To implement VSM to benefit your company’s bottom line: Assess the product, product family or service you’d like to map. List all activities and materials required to produce your product or service.
Select a manager to lead the VSM effort. Every large project needs a point person. He or she will need input from other staff members but will be responsible for drawing the final map. Make sure this person compiles a list of deadlines for each step of the process.
Know your current process. Understanding how the process currently works is integral to figuring out how to improve it in the future. Evaluate the current system on its flow and waste levels.
Evaluate each step of the process. Once you understand your process, determine how much time each step takes. Remember to focus on areas of waste, such as excess inventory, non-value-added time and multiple operators.
Use the “Takt” approach to estimate time. Takt comes from the German word Taktzeit, meaning “cycle time.” To measure Takt, divide the effective working time per shift by the customer requirements per shift. This evaluation helps synchronize production pace by evenly applying customer demand throughout the workday.
Draw a future-state value stream map. After you’ve analyzed and critiqued your existing process, build the revised plan you’ll use for the process in the future.
Work toward the future-state condition. Once you finalize your map, create an implementation plan to apply your streamlined process.