Value stream mapping

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Value stream mapping
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Value stream mapping is a method used to analyse the production system. It shows how the value is added to the product on subsequent workplaces in the manufacturing process, starting from process of raw material and ending with the finished product.

Value stream mapping is a tool that can be used with a sheet of paper and a pencil. It helps in seeing and understanding the flow of materials and information in the process, and value created during this flow.

Making a map of value stream is very simple: it is necessary to trace "the route of production" of the product from the client to the supplier, accurately graphically representing each of the activities involved in the flow of material and information.

The objective is to draw the "future state map", showing the desired form of the flow of values within analysed process. Constant repetition of these activities is the easiest and at the same time the best skills teaching method for managers and workers. It clearly establishes company vision and values, and most importantly identifies mail sources of waste (of time, material, resources).

Steps of value stream mapping

  1. Set the objectives. What results do you plan to achieve?
  2. Select the team. The team should consist of people from all departments through which the product flows, e.g. from raw material to sales.
  3. Select process to be mapped.
  4. Collect data and produce current state map. Do it while walking on production line with stop watch. To not rely on any written data or specifications. Reality differs from specs.
  5. Analyse current state. Challenge the current thinking, encourage the team to find waste.
  6. Create map of future state. Consult it, remove all weaknesses.
  7. Measure benefits. Check whether your objectives can be met.

Values stream map symbols

Value Stream Mapping symbols are known as the "language of lean". They allow to depict and improve the flow in the process.

List of value stream map symbols

Value stream mapping software

The simple chart can be drawn using Microsoft Office Visio 2010 or newer. In section Business a value stream mapping template with lean symbols was attached.


Author: Slawomir Wawak