What Is Value Stream Mapping?


Purpose of Value Stream Mapping (VSM)

  • To develop a Lean deployment strategy to improve margins, augment value, and reduce costs by eliminating waste.
  • Feed the broader value stream of the organisation where necessary
  • Develop Lean Thinking with focus on:
    • Flow of product
    • Building in Quality
    • Stability of process to enable improvements
  • Engage all team members, as far as possible, in contributing ideas to the development of a Future State of working in the Value Stream


graphic showing a value stream map

Develop Lean Thinking

The Value Stream Mapping activity may be the first opportunity to train staff in Lean.  It is structured, therefore, to provide training as well as the ‘doing’ in order for the Future State Maps to be sustained.

The Value Stream Mapping process is not a one-off activity but is something the site leader should undertake once a year or upon the completion of the Interim Future State. It is a method of constantly challenging the overall Value Stream and driving teams to improve.

Engage all Team Members

The VSM is an activity that is leader led, with General Managers and managers participating as much as possible.  The subsequent thinking around the Future States will become the drivers for the 90 Day Plans going forward.

To ensure that the VSM has the best chance of success, it must include as many people from the operations and functions as possible.  Most VSMs emerge with 150+ issues identified (waste), and 100+ ideas to make the company a better place to work and serve the customer.  These totals are only possible when people are included in the process.


The benefits of Value Stream Mapping are:

  • Aligning the processes to customer demand and exposing over-production in the Value Chain
  • Identifying bottlenecks in the process that prevent flow and overcoming them
  • Understanding the true capacity
  • Influencing the margin through flow and bottleneck management

Role of a leader

With Value Stream Mapping, leaders can demonstrate their ability to coach others in making improvements and stretch or break the current paradigms that exist in the workplace.  It is an opportunity to observe team members in action in a safe environment and to support them on their own Lean thinking journey.  It is an opportunity to use the 5 Guiding Principles when coaching others to make meaningful change.

VSM Process

Generating a Value Stream Map

The Value Stream Mapping process consists of the following steps:

  1. SIPOC Chart – (Supplier, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customer)
  2. Current State Mapping
    1. Voice of the Customer
      1. Customer Demand
      2. Customer Requirements
      3. Takt Time
      4. Customer Complaints
    2. Process Flow Mapping
      1. Map the flow of product from beginning to end
      2. Gather data on the process steps
    3. Capacity Analysis for the Value Stream
    4. Right First Time for the Value Stream
    5. Material Flow Mapping
    6. Information Flow Mapping
  3. Map the Process Lead Time
    1. VA/NVA Ratio
  4. Capture Issues and Ideas (ongoing from start)
    1. Basic ranking through Boston Matrix
  5. Generate Ideal State Map
  6. Generate Interim State Map
    1. Re-evaluate Boston Matrix
    2. Value analysis of ideas
  7. Generate 90 Day Plan


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This page was written by Bob Newton in February 2018.
Due for review in 2019.
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