Value Stream Map

10 Easy Steps to Complete a Value Stream Map

One of the most powerful tools in the Lean Toolbox is the Value Stream Map. In a short time (usually less than an hour) you can effectively communicate where the focus of your Continuous Improvement efforts will have the most effect.

The Value Stream Map is full of pictures and friendly symbols which make a simple tool understand and develop.

Below is an example of a Value Stream Map for a Printing and Binding Operation

Step 1 – Understand Value

The first step to developing a Value Stream Map is to understand the concept of “value-adding activities”. There are three criteria for Value Adding Activities:

  1. Customer wants you to do it
  2. The material or information is being processed or transformed to final products
  3. It is done right the first time

Any activity that exists outside of these three criteria is considered “Waste”.

Once we understand and define value for the organization and we understand the focus, we now start to develop the VSM.

I have worked with hundreds of teams and have found that developing a Value Stream Map manually with Post It notes and flip charts work best.


Basics of the Value Stream Map

The video below is from a pre-recorded webinar “Basics of the Value Stream Map” online course. If you want to watch the course without the promotions skip to 8 minutes and 20 seconds (8:20). The course is around 40 minutes long. If you would like to take the online Value Stream Mapping course CLICK HERE.


Step 2 – What is our Focus?

Before we learn how to define our focus, let’s correct a misunderstanding that I see in many teams when developing a Value Stream Map.

A Value Stream Map is not a process flowchart. What I mean by this is that a Value Stream Map does not track all of possible paths that the process can take.

A Value Stream Map tracks one part, service or transaction or a family of parts, services or transactions through the process. We only track one path of “value stream”.

To define our focus, we can use a tool like a Product Family Matrix help us understand which of the products or family of products has the “biggest bang for the buck”.

An example of the Product Family Matrix

Value Stream Map

When choosing the product or product family to map, consider:

  • Customer Return Rates
  • Greater Proportion of Units
  • Largest Dollar Volume
  • Defect Rates
  • Complex Products (use the most processes)

Once we understand and define value for the organization and we understand the focus, we now start to develop the VSM.

I have worked with hundreds of teams and have found that developing a Value Stream Map manually with Post It notes and flip charts work best.

Step 3 – Go to Gemba (Walk the Process)

I see lots of teams draw a VSM in a room far removed from the process that they are trying to improve. Worse, they try and develop a VSM from reports and SME accounts without ever experiencing the process themselves.

Go to Gemba! Draw the Ohno Circle! Get a notepad, take notes and watch the process unfold in front of you.

Develop the VSM somewhere that the team has quick and easy access to the process. Optimally you will be at the process.


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Root Cause Analysis Toolset

This FREE Downloadable ZIP file contains seven templates (Including the Value Stream Map) in the Lean Six Sigma Root Cause Analysis toolset: Project Charter, SIPOC, Value Stream Map, X-Map, C&E Matrix, and the FMEA. Each template is in a Microsoft Excel format. These tools are used in the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Improve, and Control) phases of a Lean Six Sigma Root Cause Analysis.


Step 4 – Work Backwards

The most difficult part to drawing a VSM is not to turn it into a flowchart where we track all of the different paths of the process. There is a trick to avoiding that mistake … Start from the end of the process and work backwards

When you start from the end customer and work backwards, you have no choice but to track that “one thing”.

Step 5 – Define the Basic Value Stream

From the data that we have collected from “going to gemba” and SME’s, we define the basic steps in the value stream

Value Stream Map

Step 6 – Fill in Queue Times

After we define the basic steps in the value stream then we fill in Waiting (Queue) Times between each process.

In most VSM’s, the focus is on the Process Cycle Time. Separate the cycle times between NVA time and VA time. Recall our discussion in Step #1 to define what is considered to be a Value Added Step (VA).

Value Stream Map

Step 7 – Fill in Process Data

Enter all pertinent process data in Boxes beneath each main process step box (from step #5).

Examples of Process Data:

  • Process Cycle Time
  • Changeover Time
  • Pace / TAKT Time / Rate
  • Defects / Problems Per Day
  • First Pass Yield
  • Batch Size
  • Shifts

Enter any data that you and the team have defined important to the process.

Value Stream Map

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Receive your Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training from an Accredited Authorized Training Organization through the IASSC (International Association of Six Sigma Certification). Once you complete the course, you have the option of completing the IASSC exam to receive the IASSC Certification; completing a Green Belt project; or both. We have public (private), onsite and virtual training available. Contact us at training@sixsigmadsi.com or 866-922-6566 for more details on the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt


Step 8 – Include Smiley Faces 😉

It is important to understand the amount of capacity in labor at each process. When developing the VSM, you might see that a bottleneck exists because of an imbalance in labor.

Add a smiley face over each process box to define the number of laborers that we were in the process when the value stream was captured.

Value Stream Map

Step 9 – Include the Value Added Percentage (%VA)

Add up all the data in the VA section and divide it by the total process cycle time (the time it takes for the product or product family to travel through the entire value stream)

Convert the resulting number to a percentage (%) by multiplying by 100. This will give you the Percentage of Value Added activities or %VA.

Value Stream Map

Step 10 – interpret the VSM?

The VSM should now be a very pictorial view of the process and what has happened to that product or family of products.

  • Bottlenecks / Constraints
  • Long Process Cycle Times
  • Poor Uptimes
  • Excessive Setup Times
  • Poor Quality / Rework

The VSM should help build a roadmap for continuous improvement projects to get your process to the desired state.


Value Stream Mapping Product

FREE! Value Stream Mapping Online Training (Normally $19.99)

One of the most powerful tools in the Lean Toolbox is the Value Stream Map. In a short time (usually less than an hour) you can effectively communicate where the focus of your Continuous Improvement efforts will have the most effect.

There will be a quiz at the end of the module. Once the course is completed and the exam is passed, you will be immediately awarded a Certificate.


Conclusion

One of the most powerful tools in the Lean Toolbox is the Value Stream Map. In a short time (usually less than an hour) you can effectively communicate where the focus of your Continuous Improvement efforts will have the most effect.

The Value Stream Map is full of pictures and friendly symbols which make a simple tool understand and develop.