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Basic No. 5: Value Stream Mapping
By Bill Gaw
Back-to-Basics manufacturing is the removal of waste, by
improving production time, which results in improved quality and the
reduction of costs. Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is the visual tool
used to identify and eliminate waste, which makes VSM an incredibly
important tool to use in the success of lean manufacturing.
Specifically, Value Stream Mapping allows you to see the flow of the
value stream, and where the wastes are within the flow. For
instance, when a value stream map is created, the first step is to
draw out the value adding steps in the middle of the paper, what the
delays are, and all information required in order to deliver the
product or service. There are also different tools used on the map
that are hand drawn, providing an easier avenue for developing and
Plus drawing out the map gives you the opportunity to view and
understand how the materials and information flows in the value
stream in order to discuss the required changes. This information
will guide you for establishing the future state map with
prioritized activities in order to achieve the future state vision.
Another critical piece in the value stream map is all the non-value
adding steps, which are the operations of the value stream, such as
a person's workstation. The non-value adding steps are also
classified as the preparatory or cleaning up phase. Once these have
been identified, lines are drawn to each value adding step. A
vertical line is drawn from the non-value adding steps to the value
adding steps, which tells a story about the person performing the
work, or the workstation. A horizontal line is drawn is drawn
between each of the value adding steps indicating the product being
In essence, Value Stream Mapping is used to identify the
opportunities for reducing waste and improving quality. VSM can also
be used for other functions, not just manufacturing, such as
logistics, the supply chain, other departments within an
organization, as well as other industries. It is important to
clearly outline the current state, with all pieces that affect all
phases of the process. Once this is done, then the brainstorming of
how to eliminate the waste and improve the process can be conducted.
The final step is to create a future state vision map of how the
process will operate, and implement the changes.
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