Value Stream Mapping | VSM Study with example | Lean Tool

What is Value Stream Mapping?

→ Value Stream Mapping is a graphical tool that helps us to see and understand the flow of process and information as a product and service.
→ It is an improvement tool that is visualizing the entire operation of manufacturing or service representing both material and information flow.
→ It is one of the best Lean Tool to eliminate waste.
→ A value stream usually includes people, tools and technologies, physical facilities, and communication channels, etc...
→ This tool is associated with the manufacturing industry in major cases.
→ It can also be applied in various industries like Product development, Service-related industries: e.g. healthcare, insurance, hospitality, and logistics, etc…
→ VSM Study is one of the important in the Lean Six Sigma Project.


→ T. Ohno from Toyota Production gave the concept of a Value Stream Mapping in 1988.
→ It was introduced as 'Material and Information Flow Mapping’.
→ Later it is named as Value Stream Mapping by John Shook and Mike Rother.
→ Value Stream Mapping puts all the information in one place and it is a very much effective method as compared to other tools.
→ This tool is also used in Six Sigma Projects.

What is Value?

→ "Value" is a product or service that the customer is buying.
→ It is the capability to provide a product or a service having the highest quality, at an appropriate price, and at the right time as defined by the customer.
→ Customer’s expectation of value may be, price, quality, reliable delivery, rapid response to changing needs, etc.……

What is a Value Stream?

→ “Value Stream” is to identify the wasteful activity from the system and eliminate it from the system.
→ This happens by checking all small activities from start to end which is necessary to convert all input into an output.
→ The value chain refers to all of the activities within an organization.
→ While a Value Stream focuses on that activity which adds value in a service or in a product.

Different things flow through the Stream:

→ In manufacturing or distribution, materials flow.
→ Patients flow in health services
→ Information flows in office areas.
→ Internal customer flows in administration.
→ So, in various system services, information, or product flow.

Reason for Mapping & Analysis

→ Find out the relationship between operation steps
→ We can get information and also we can have an actual illustration of the current process
→ For setting the improvement targets for the organization
→ Identify improvement opportunity
→ Provide product or service the highest quality, at an appropriate price, and at the right time as defined by the customer
→ Design (concept to a customer)
→ Build (order to delivery)
→ Sustain (in-use through the life cycle to service)


→ To identify improvement possibilities in the entire operation flow and supply chain.
→ By eliminating lean wastes and improve the performances.
→ To improve efficiency.
→ Satisfy our customers with our service.
→ Performance improvement of the operation.

Team Members and Roles in VSM Study Project:

  1. Executive Sponsor
  2. Process Owner
  3. VSM Coach (Facilitator)
  4. Workshop/office Participants

[1] Executive Sponsor:
→ Executive Sponsor is the owner of the Charter
→ He/She decide the team members for the project
→ Executive Sponsor is responsible for ensuring the member's participation.
→ Ongoing project status is presented by the Executive Sponsor.
→ He/She takes part in define the scope, start the project, Active team member of review, audit & follow-ups committee

[2] Process Owner:
→ They are responsible for the whole operation flow and they lead the VSM project from beginning to end.
→ They take ownership during the VSM event
→ All meetings, progress, and MOMs are maintained by the Process Owner.
→ Ensures action item pre-work is complete for scoping, workshop/office, and reviews
→ Conduct the review of the implementation plan at a certain interval.
→ He/She gives information to sponsor about the progress of the project.

[3] VSM Coach:
→ VSM coach provides coaching to Process Owner and team.
→ He/She is responsible for defining the scope of the project.
→ Gives training to the VSM team and give coaching to the team.
→ VSM Coach gives training on Lean Manufacturing to the team.
→ Provide training on lean skills to all participants.

[4] Workshop/office Participants:
→ Participate in the VSM project as a Subject Matter Expert (SME)
→ All Workshop/office Participants are responsible for the operation steps.
→ They support the VSM project successfully run.

How to create a Value Stream Mapping?:

→ It is a team exercise so all department representatives should participate in this event.
→ This project should be lead by the expert and can guide other team members for the successful project.
→ The best method of making Value Stream Mapping is by hand using a pencil and A3 drawing sheet.
→ During creating the process map all participants should be involved in this activity is always a better decision.
→ Begin with a quick walk through the entire operation
→ Always trust on your own taken data
→ Map the whole operation flow yourself.

Value Stream Mapping Process with example

→ Refer below five steps for understanding the full concept
  1. Gather Data & Information
  2. Create a Current State Map
  3. Future State Map & Action Plans
  4. Execute the Plan
  5. Align
Value Stream Mapping Process Steps

Step 1 - Gather Data and Information:

→ Gather Information:
→ Define the start & end of the operation flow
→ Define the criteria for data collection
→ Walk and observe the actual workplace
→ Take all the information related to each and every step.
→ Measure actual lead time, actual cycle time, on-time delivery rate, and defect rate, etc...

Step 2 - Create a Current State Map

→ Record the detail about the current flow material or information.
→ Make an analysis of the data
→ In the current state of the VSM study, we have to mention the actual readings or data of the operation flow.
→ In this stage, we do not have to worry about the future of the process.
→ We have to mention just as the process is and it should show the real picture of the ongoing operation flow.
→ Then after we can check the possibility of improvement.

VSM Study Symbols:

→ We need to understand the symbols that are using in the VSM study that is mentioned below.
→ The different symbols are used for a different activity that is mentioned in the below picture.
→ By using these symbols we can make a more clear understanding of the process.

VSM Study Symbols 01

VSM Study Symbols 02

Collecting Data and Time Studies in VSM Study:

→ This is a very important step in the entire study.
→ There are a few ways in which we get information.
→ The first, we get the data directly from the industry by contacting all relevant personnel.
→ Take the operation sequence flow and work instruction data from the company, as well as observed.
→ The process in actual, and conduct own time studies to get exact information about the processing time.
→ During the walk carefully observe all operation steps and ask as many as possible questions.
→ And collect all data related to that operation.

Examples of data required in this study:

→ No. of work in progress
→ Cycle Times for each operation
→ Inspection or testing time
→ Check for the wasteful activity
→ Waiting time and working time etc…

Process Steps in VSM Study:

→ Mention the process flow as actual it is.
→ Write down all operation steps in the format box and add all data in this box.
→ Note down inventory days, delay time, wait time, and working time
→ Then calculate all working time and waiting time.
→ Find out the Process Cycle Efficiency as calculation mentioned in the below picture.

Analysis of the Current State Map:

→ The current state map is a way of saying “what happens now” or the “as-is”.
→ It should provide all process-related information like how the items are being processed and what happens in each step?
→ This information helps us to find out the root cause of problems.
→ So we can improve our operation flow by eliminating the root cause.
→ And we can improve the operation efficiency, reliability, and flexibility.

Create a Current State Map

Step 3 – Future State Map & Action Plans:

→ Discuss the ideal state
→ Develop the future state map & action plan
→ Build a draft timeline for implementation
→ Communication & training as required

Creating an Ideal and Future State

→ Define what we want to achieve the target so that we can focus our efforts on achieving our future State.
→ The expert should create an ideal state map for the operation flow.
→ The simplest way to achieve the target is to plan a series of improvements and divide into various lean events like 5S Methodology, Do-it, Burst, Kaizen Event, and Project.
→ We can highlight the improvement opportunity by using a kaizen burst symbol on our current state map.

Creating an Ideal and Future State Map

Analysis of Future State Map:

→ In the future state, map analyzes and reduces the waiting time, so overall time will decrease and performance will increase.
→ By using a Pareto chart or ABC analysis we can easily find our the bottleneck area where we have to work on a priority basis.
→ Then take any bottlenecked process and further analyze on a micro basis, find out the improvement scope and eliminate the wastes.

Analysis of Future State Map

Step 4 – Execute the Plan:

→ Implement improvements
→ Conduct Workshops, events, projects, bursts per the implementation plan
→ Achieve value stream objectives
→ Create an environment of Continuous Improvement or Kaizen.
→ During the execution of the plan eliminate all wasteful activity from the system or process flow.

Step 5 – Align & Analysis of Current and Future State:

→ Arrange analysis and alignment meeting
→ Periodic basis (based on action plan schedule)
→ Review event implementations & results
→ Evaluate the impact to value stream metrics (individual events and overall)
→ Review next quarter events
→ Inspect changes in a business environment
→ Communicate results
→ Update implementation plan as required
→ Address resistance and sustainment issues

Analysis of Current State and Future State

Keys Points for Successful VSM Study:

→ Select the right person in the VSM project team.
→ Give specific decision-making authority to the team member for the successful project run.
→ All team members give their participants effectively and efficiently.
→ Always attack the process, Don't attack people
→ Frequently analyze the progress of the project and motivate people for a successful project.

👉 Also Read:
      1. 5S Methodology

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