One of the enablers for any organization for their Lean journey is Value Stream Mapping (VSM). VSM is an end-to-end collection of processes that creates value for the customer. This includes people, tools, technologies, physical facilities, communication channels, policies and procedures. By doing VSM, the team can:
- Describe the flow of material and information through the production system
- Graphically portray the process to see where value is added and where value is lost
- Visually allow the team to see where costs can be reduced and improvements can be made
- Grasp the current state and vision-out the future state of the processes wherein wasted steps will be left out and when continuous flow and pull production will be introduced.
Compared to Process Mapping, VSM will enable teams to plan their long term strategy.
When you utilize VSM, you are focusing on “Value”. But how do we define “Value”? Let us put things in proper perspective. When we say Value, it means that it is the reason of customers for purchasing or buying products. Value speaks of the fulfillment of customer requirements.
Doing VSM in conjunction with the thinking process and waste elimination, we can foresee how our processes will operate at an optimal level.
VSM process starts with a Current-State Assessment, then with a Future Assessment and then with the Next future state. Assessments are a never-ending cycle. Buoyant people would look at Assessment as a method for continually improving the process and cultivating a culture focused on breakthrough improvements.
VSM will allow everyone to see the wastes and plan to eliminate those. VSM can strengthen the gains by providing vision and plans that will eventually connect all improvement activities in the organization.
The five simple principles applied for utilizing the VSM are:
- Specify value from the customer standpoint
- Identify the value stream for each product family
- Make the product flow
- So the customer can pull
- As you manage toward perfection
As we continue our journey for operational excellence, VSM will make any organization globally competitive by shifting from a corrective to a preventive culture.
- Sonny Tapia, Senior Process Consultant, ECC International