Value Stream Mapping: More Than Meets the Eye (Lean Part 7)


When you think of Value Stream Mapping (VSM), you probably associate it strictly with manufacturing. However, identification and elimination of waste can be applied to nearly any process within a facility and any department within a business.

VSM is a powerful technique used to evaluate specific aspects of an organization’s “current state” that might not be performing at an optimal level. A map becomes a visual baseline to depict and improve flow and identify process improvement opportunities. It is then used to develop a plan of action that will lead to the achievement of an organization’s intended “future state.” It can be used in health care, logistics, supply chain, service, sales, software development, accounting, and other administrative and office processes. Examples of waste that can be reduced using VSM include:

  • Over processing
  • Excess inventory
  • Non Value Add (NVA) processing
  • Errors and defects
  • Underutilized personnel
  • Printing paperwork too soon
  • Personnel or system downtime
  • Obstructed information flow
  • Data re-entering and entry errors
  • Excessive movement of paperwork.
  • Excessive travel between work stations
  • Waiting time between departments
  • Multiple storage locations

Using it properly and completely will provide a direct path to process optimization at every level and an operation that is assured long-term survival. Those that can benefit from VSM application in the workplace include:

  • Supervisors and floor leaders
  • IT department
  • Operators and materials handlers.
  • Industrial engineers
  • Maintenance and tooling
  • Machine programmers
  • Statisticians
  • Operations managers
  • Sales representatives
  • Purchasing representatives
  • Accountants

Ultimately, learning and embracing this technique as a method to document and improve all types of business processes can spell the difference between a stagnant facility and a thriving business. For any help answering these questions or to learn about Value Stream Mapping, contact Business Development Advisor, Ralph Brown, at 914-393-98765, or ralph.brown@hvtdc.org.