Skill

Lean Learning’s #3 Understanding Value Streams

The ability to produce and interpret Value Stream Maps (VSM’s) is one of the key fundamental Lean tools that any Lean leader of manager should learn.

Let’s look at the use of the Value Stream Mapping tool and how it can help you develop a good strategic plan that will help you both clarify your sequence of activities and the organisation can buy in to.

A value stream is the series of steps both value added and non value added that occur in order that the product or service can be delivered to the customer.

Value streams are normally measured from the point where the customer places and order to the point where the business delivers a product or service to that customer.

Each product or process will have its own value stream since normally the processes, parts, volumes and workforce will vary.

A Value Stream Map is a pictorial representation that looks at all of these issues and assists you in understanding exactly what is going on. Although a Value Stream Map is only a snap in time. It allows you to quantify the actual process and not relay on peoples impressions of where
all the problems lie.  If you were to repeat the Value Stream Mapping exercise on another day, the detail such as the amounts of inventory or the
numbers of quality issues would be different. However in general the Inventory levels, bottle necks and the value add ratio would remain very similar. So do not get bogged down in the very fine detail.

One of the other very important aspects of a VSM is that will help you calculate the ‘Value Added Ratio’. This is a representative ratio of Value Added vs. Non Value Added activities, within the process under investigation.

As a general rule, the process of producing a Value Stream Map is broken down into 7 key stages

  1. Identify the product, product family, or service that is going to be mapped.
  2. Gather together a group of key individuals to work on the map as a team.
  3. Measure the actual state using predefined key metrics. Walk to the  floor and look at the real state, do not use system data.
  4. Using standard symbols, Draw a current state value stream map, which shows the current steps, delays, and information flows required to
    deliver the target product or service.
  5. Assess the current state value stream map. Focus on removing waste, bottleneck processes and think in terms of creating flow.
  6. Brainstorm what would be the ideal state if all the issues were fixed and the team had a clean sheet of paper. Draw this as a future state
    value stream map.
  7. Work toward the future state condition.

This is an extract from ‘Tools for success’by Graham Ross and Barry Jeffrey.  If you would like to know more about Value Stream Mapping and its deployment why not follow the link .

Tools for Success