Lean Manufacturing : Value Stream Mapping Overview

Lean manufacturing consists of various techniques and tools that help businesses achieve improved quality and productivity. One of these tools is called VSM or Value Stream Mapping.  It is a proven tool that is perfect for a wide range of processes and industries. It is ideal to create positive changes in any organization as long as utilized properly. Using this tool can help business develop efficient states in the future as well as cost effective benefits along with versatility. To put it in a few words, this tool means to eradicate waste.

What Is Value Stream?

Similar to the rest of lean manufacturing tools, VSM must be utilized properly. This means preventing errors that can make the mapping process invalid. However, knowledge of the value stream is essential for proper implementation of VSM.

Basically, value stream refers to all activities needed to bring about goods from raw materials into the hands of the customers. It can also be in a form of service that is given to target clients. It includes primary activities that deal with support, procurement as well as inbound logistics that helps to gain competitive advantage.

VSM –  Implementation Techniques

Primarily, one key element to VSM is clear definition of the good or service that is available to map. In other terms, it is important to that there is a value stream that is to map prior to dealing with the process since the aim is to determine waste and eliminate it. Some businesses proceed with VSM without having products or services or these may still be in the process of development. This can be risky unless you can come up with the control part or else you will just end up wasting resources and time.

Moving forward, another way to come up with competent VSM is to monitor first hand performance. It must be noted that there are simple and complex value streams so there will be instances where production and delivery can be lengthy and tedious. In fact, in some other cases, these processes may take days or weeks making the person in charge rush to developing the map. All of these things can make stream value map a little bit complicated. With proper understanding, everything can be easier.

Most importantly, it is highly advised to map the flow of the different flows of supply and production. A comprehensive study will provide you with a flow chart for the different departments regarding how information or items flow from end to end. This involves getting inputs from different business supervisors or heads. Once this is accomplished, the documented flow chart of the organization will be prepared for study. The information gathered is required to map the number of items in the flow chart as this will determine the areas for inconsistencies and wastes.

Overall, VSM is a more technical tool with more detailed terminologies so training can be most helpful to ensure that this will be implemented effectively within an organization. This is most especially if you are thinking of implementing lean manufacturing to your business.

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