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What are the Benefits of Value Stream Mapping?

The team of Lean and visual management specialists here at Clarity are dedicated to helping businesses across multiple sectors to achieve operational excellence. In order for OpEx to come to fruition, continuous improvement must first be established across your entire workplace. Value Stream Mapping is a cornerstone of this approach, so in this blog we’re explaining what VSM is, how it works, which sectors it can be applied to, and the benefits it will bring to your teams.

What is Value Stream Mapping?

If you want to put in place continuous improvement, you must first begin with Value Stream Mapping. This follows a fundamental two-stage process, which involves establishing the Current State map (what happens today) and finding improvements to create the Future State map (an ideal future state of how the process will look after improvements).

This must be done at the very beginning, as the process of observing, studying and tracking the current process to map it is the most effective way to identify successful and sustainable improvements. It also ensures the improvements are based on factual data and a mutual understanding of the Current State by all stakeholders. This is essential before we jump into solution mode as we might otherwise risk creating improvements based on incorrect assumptions.

At this stage we should remind you that continuous improvement is very much about even the smallest changes, as the cumulative effect of minor adjustments can lead to game-changing operational enhancement.

What is included in VSM?

As mentioned above, Value Stream Mapping involves every element of a product’s journey, but what exactly does that mean? Below are all of the factors that need to be considered when creating a Value Stream Map:

  • The materials and equipment used during production
  • All of the actions involved (both value-adding and wasteful)
  • The number of people and amount of manpower required
  • Any information, data and communication used or exchanged
  • All processes that take place between the order being received and the product landing in the customer’s hands
  • Waste generated, such as energy, materials, labour, time etc.

By taking this holistic approach, a clear picture of the product’s value stream can be effectively mapped out without omitting even the smallest of details.

Value Stream Mapping benefits

There are many benefits that VSM will bring to your business. Aside from the clarity and confidence that accompany a comprehensive understanding of how things work, your teams will also achieve the following:

  • It becomes much easier to identify waste, bottlenecks and constraints
  • Opportunities for improving the system are suddenly plain to see
  • Each process can be understood far more intricately, which facilitates the effective implementation of Lean
  • Processes can be streamlined and fine-tuned to make everything more efficient
  • Cross-functional collaboration is improved
  • Product quality can be enhanced
  • Time, cost, labour and environmental impact can each be reduced
  • VSM is a relatively fast process and very easy to learn

Which sectors use Value Stream Mapping?

VSM is particularly prevalent in the manufacturing industry but it can actually be applied to a wide variety of sectors, such as:

  • Logistics
  • Supply chain management
  • Service-related industries
  • Healthcare
  • Fintech
  • Software development
  • Product development
  • Administrative and office environments

Is there a Value Stream Mapping template?

Due to VSM visually depicting the flow of your processes and the information that controls that flow, the considerations, results and actions going forward will be completely unique to your workplace. As a result, there isn’t a template per se, but that’s what the Lean management specialists at Clarity are here to help you create from scratch.

Simply book an initial consultation with one of our Senior Visual Management Consultants and we’ll show you how to analyse your product cycle from start to finish, allowing an in-depth Value Mapping Stream to be designed that will support your teams in maximising quality and profitability whilst running a more sustainable business through improved flow.

Clarity’s Value Stream Mapping Workshop

We also provide a hugely beneficial Value Stream Mapping workshop for senior management teams in businesses and organisations of all shapes and sizes. Taking place onsite at your premises, this invaluable workshop covers the following:

  • Visually analyse and show the flow of materials, data and information involved in a process, which is the Current State Map.
  • Identify the interactions between all functions within the process, including any support functions such as production planning, scheduling, materials management etc.
  • The flow of information is a crucial aspect, as the way in which data is used and communication takes place have a major impact on the overall flow of an end-to-end process.
  • Through the above steps, your senior management teams will be able to pinpoint any inefficiencies, problems, losses and delays within the system. Even the smallest of factors will become clear, which may be causing relatively minor issues that combine to create larger constraints and bottlenecks.
  • Waste will also be highlighted in its many forms, which enables you to improve the system so that it achieves peak efficiency and sustainability.
  • Culture change is crucial, so this VSM workshop also explains how to implement improvements in a way that can be sustained by all stakeholders.
  • Using the above findings, a shared vision for an optimised process flow can be formulated – The Future State. This gives clear direction for the managers and employees who will be involved in the continuous improvement journey of this particular product or process.
  • VSM offers insight on an ongoing basis, serving as a dashboard for the monitoring and continuous improvement of the process long into the future.

Explore our Value Stream Mapping products

As well as consultancy and workshops, Clarity also provides a wide range of visual management products to support your Lean methodology. Prime examples are visual management boards along with magnetic overlays and magnetic document frames, which when used together will allow you to visually map your processes and make core information instantly available to your teams.

We’re here to support your VSM journey

If you’re ready to apply Value Stream Mapping to your business in order to improve flow and reduce waste, get in touch with our team on +44 (0)1482 296451 or fill in our contact form.