Value stream mapping has attracted huge interest from lean practitioners and business improvement specialists. For some it seems that it’s a dark and mysterious art – a panacea or cure all.

However, you’ll be pleased to know Value stream mapping is not rocket science – given some time and practice anyone can do it.

The big Value Stream Mapping secret: It’s easy!

Before we get to the list of must haves for Value Stream Mapping – let me explain what I mean when I say that it isn’t rocket science – like any methodology Value Stream Mapping has certain processes and steps to follow to produce the desired result – Information can be obtained such as this Value stream mapping guide or these Example Value stream maps – the most important thing to remember is that these steps can be learned.

To help you out on your Value stream mapping quest there are books, software and case studies that will be of use. Remember that you are not alone – there’s a heap of resources out there to help you.

Heres our list of Value stream mapping essential elements

1/ Information Flow – At the heart of VSM is the mapping of the flow of information
2/ Material Flow – As well as information the other crucial element is the flow of material.
3/ Customers – capture the customer and its interface
4/ Suppliers – Capture the suppliers and the flow of material from them
5/ Lead Time – Capture the lead time or waiting time between each process activity
6/ Value Add time – Capture the time spent adding value to the product by each step of the process
7/ Activity – capture each activity step in the process
8/ Materials – capture the levels of materials used/held at each activity stage.
9/ Resources – capture the resources used at each activity step
10/ Transportation – capture the movement of materials between steps, customers and suppliers.

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