Value Stream Mapping

TARGET PARTICIPANTS:  Typically we need good representation from the management team since this is an exploratory activity which includes designing a future state and the creation of an implementation plan. Management needs to play a major role in the planning phase:  management defines “what” we should be working on and what is important; workers play a major role in the actual redesign of the work

Value Stream Mapping is a strategic methodology used to: visualize macro-level “big picture” process steps, quickly analyze the current state performance of a business identifying disconnects and waste (both unnecessary and necessary); design a future state process flow; and develop a plan to achieve the future state design.  Value Stream Mapping includes:

(1) Creating the Mapping Charter: Charter session objectives: identification of the value stream to be mapped; define objectives; determine specific conditions; set boundaries; and identify participants & trainers for the actual CS mapping session.

(2) Graphically mapping the “Current State” of the process involving management and those who know the process best – management and the front-line workers.  Working with a skilled facilitator, they identify each step and each step’s “process time” (how long it takes to actually do the work of that step) “lead time” (how long from the beginning of this step to the beginning of the next step including time in the “in basket”) and other barriers to flow. 

Identifying opportunities for improvement within the current process flow.  Improvements may include lead time reductions (delay time between steps), elimination of steps that don’t add value, (e.g., redundant reviews, over-processing, excess paper copies, waiting for multiple approvals), simplifying how work is being done and improving information flow between processes.  Before determining process performance gaps, the outcome of the process or conditions of satisfaction must be determined.  Clarifying the conditions of satisfaction illustrates who the customer is and where the value added steps in the process lie. Some improvement needs surface during the mapping process, while others are brainstorm ideas that arise from the discussions of the process.  This list of ideas is reviewed and prioritized by the team. 

Develop a “Future State” map (3-6 months) showing the anticipated impact of adopting the selected improvement ideas. . 

From all of this a short and medium term Implementation Plan is drafted including activities, timeline and ownership.

Periodic follow-ups occur to support and coach through implementation.

In moving forward with planning Value Stream Mapping, there are other matters we will need to discuss:

  • When is value stream mapping appropriate? For example:
    • process problems related to extended lead times
    • quality of information disconnects
    • cross-functional processes
    • need for a plan on how to improve process performance
    • benefits from a “request to delivery” perspective of process performance (across the organizational silos)
  • Scheduling: it is best if VSM Steps 2-4 are conducted over three consecutive days.