VSM, or Value Stream Mapping, is a lean-management method for documenting and analyzing the steps of the end-to-end process that takes a service or product from its request to its delivery to the customer. This method can be practiced with essentially any value chain.
In short, the information gathered and presented in a VSM is at a higher level, covering more areas of interest at a broader scope, whereas a typical process map has more detail for a smaller part of the value stream. Additionally, VSM goes beyond merely considering the flow of the project, as it also illustrates the information flows and communication systems that are involved.
Draw a current state VSM, showing the current steps and any delays that occur between steps. Key data should be collected for each step, including process times, length of delays, and the capacity of each step.
Analyze the current state VSM, looking for opportunities to improve flow and eliminate waste.
Value Stream Mapping is most commonly associated with manufacturing, but it is also present in product development, logistics, software development, supply chain, service industries, healthcare, and administrative processes. In short, Lean environments in almost any industry can use VSM to improve internal processes and procedures, enabling them to provide customers with better goods and services.
VSM is often used to identify areas of interest for future projects or Kaizen events.
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* VSM Image Copyright Mark Graban 2012