A value stream is the complete sequence of activities an organization performs in order to produce and deliver its end product or service. It encompasses suppliers, internal processes, and customers. The VSM toolset focuses on flow from customer demand upstream through the process to supplier delivery of raw material or information.
VSM shows the flow of information and material, and the occurrence of actions using easy-to-understand symbols.
Value Stream Mapping consists of two primary steps:
Map the current state value stream (current state) to help your organization see the complete flow of information and material. Interruptions to flow, and sources of waste are identified.
Map the desired value stream (future state) to form the basis of a lean implementation plan. Specific areas, and magnitude of improvement required are identified.
Benefits of Value Stream Mapping
Some of the benefits to an organization using Value Stream Mapping are listed below:
By seeing the "whole" flow, Value Stream Mapping addresses sources of waste which have the greatest impact rather than those easiest to tackle. VSM combines the qualitative benefit of a visual tool with the quantitative benefit of an analytical tool.
VSM provides the framework for tying together an organization's lean improvement activities. Optimal decisions regarding flow are more apparent.
VSM makes visual those points where waiting for information or resources interrupts flow, and wastes accumulate.