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Mar 26, 2010

What is Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping is often used at the outset of a lean program to identify the current process within an organization. Strictly speaking Value stream mapping is used to map information and materials through a production process – but it can be used for so much more than simply transcribing the process. So what are it’s benefits?

1/ It’s quick and easy to learn

2/ It helps portray the process from the start of the production process to the end

3/ It help finds bottlenecks

4/ It helps find waste within the process

5/ It’s a group excersise and therefore can involve your workforce as part of your lean improvement program

6/ You can use a completed value stream map as an improvement aide to document transitions to a future state value stream map

7/ Its an inexpensive tool – all you need is a paper and pen!

8/ It can be easily critiqued by your workforce (using post it notes) to highlight problems that exist within the process

9/ It’s not just for manufacturing! Value stream mapping has been used in offices, service industries healthcare etc.

10/ It’s easy to understand – With a little bit of training on VSM icons – maps are easy to understand conveying powerfull process in a simple pictorial fashion.