Value Stream Mapping: Documenting every step in the process visualising every task

Documenting business processes.
Value Stream Mapping: Documenting every step in the process visualising every task

Value Stream Mapping and process mapping is integral in any enterprise because it paints an elaborate picture of what the company is about. If you are to provide consumers with what they need, you must first comprehend your business better. 

Optimising business processes requires a proper grasp of what's working and what isn't. With each passing day, consumers get more options from which to choose. Therefore, companies are having an even harder time convincing buyers that they offer value. 

Lean visual tools can help a business analyse its value and improve processes to cater to evolving consumer demands. Value stream mapping (VSM) is one technique that enterprises use to envision process flow. It gives a top-down overview of different processes. So, organisations should learn how to capitalise on value stream maps.

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What is Value Stream Mapping?

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) also known as "material and information flow mapping" in Toyota and is a lean methodology used to visualise the stages that a product goes through from the point of creation to when it's delivered to the customer.

 A value stream map lays out the process flow, thus allowing you to understand a product's movements better. The tool enables a business to know about the steps that add value to processes and those that don't. Therefore, you can easily identify wastage and inefficiencies. 

A well-developed value stream map reveals existing gaps, allowing you to find the best solutions to fill them.

Lean and six sigma identify the value as everything that a consumer is willing to pay for. Some steps in business processes contribute direct value to the customer. Others facilitate different areas of a process to ensure that a product or service delivers the intended value. 

What is value stream mapping examples?

Take product inspection, for example. The process is critical in providing good quality goods even though consumers don't ask for them. Failing to inspect for quality would result in poor standard offerings that would not satisfy customers.

What is value stream mapping used for?

Why should your company consider value stream maps for process optimisation? The biggest advantage is that the technique lets you check for the seven wastes of lean from start to finish of a product or service. These wastes are transport, notion, inventory, waiting, overproduction, over-processing and defects. Any element in a process that a customer won't pay for is considered waste, and the more you reduce it, the bigger the cost savings.

Since VSM uses a linear format, it reveals significant information about each process. Therefore, stakeholders can easily tell where value is generated or not. So they can make the required changes to boost process efficiency.

Enterprises can use value stream maps to define future goals. Because stakeholders understand value better in the current processes, they can start looking at how to enhance future workflow.

Value Stream Mapping vs Process Mapping?

How effectively you can optimise business processes depends on the mapping methods used. Value stream maps and process maps are some of the most common solutions for improving efficiency. Both tools can be employed in various industries and under different conditions. 

However, they don't have the same outcomes, which is something that every business owner, manager and supervisor must be clear about. VSM gives a broad process view, which allows you to look at the bigger picture. Conversely, process mapping is more detailed, enabling you to analyse individual tasks.

VSM is better suited for production environments because it makes it easy to identify growth opportunities at different stages. PM works better when analysing information flow, thus enabling stakeholders to make informed decisions.

Although process mapping has its issues, VSM is harder to implement. You need to be cautious with value stream maps because the poor implementation can be detrimental to long-term productivity.

Value stream mapping helps organisations boost efficiency by focusing on value-adding activities. Through value stream maps, businesses can find areas that need improvement and implement the necessary solutions. Enterprises in any industry can leverage VSM.

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