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Value Stream Mapping (VSM) FAQS

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As the Online Tutor for the Value Stream Mapping Online Workshop (90 Minutes), I wanted to take some time to answer a couple of questions about Value Stream Mapping.

The balance between supply and demand is in a constant state of flux.

However, it won’t be far from the truth to say that supply has been steadily growing in many industries faster than the demand.

As the market is getting more saturated by the day, it can become increasingly difficult to convince your customers that you will provide the value they are looking for.

Thankfully, Lean has a way to get you ahead of the competition by visualising and enhancing the value stream you are delivering to your customers.

Value Stream Mapping allows you to see the value in your processes (and the waste) and how it moves through your organisation.

What Is Value Stream Mapping (VSM)?

A Value Stream Map, in the simplest of terms, is a way to visualize the steps required to transform a customer request into a good or service, or in other words, a product’s production path from supplier to the customer.

A Value Stream Map, which offers a holistic view of the process or the system, can be drawn at any scale; to map a simple administrative process as well as a complicated global-level manufacturing and sales process. It helps identify non-value adding steps that should be eliminated and areas in the process that should be improved to achieve better and faster outcomes at a lower cost in a safer work environment.

A Value Stream Map can be divided into 3 segments:

Production or process flow

In this section, as in a traditional process flowchart, the flow of the process is drawn from left to right. If there are subtasks or parallel tasks, they should also be drawn from left to right beneath the main flow. Drawn this way, it is easier to tell apart the major tasks that occur time and time again throughout the process, from the minor steps.

Information or communication flow

In this section (at the top portion of the map) all the communication, both formal and informal, that occurs within the value stream is shown. There’s no standardized flow of communication as communication can flow in any direction.

Timelines and travel distances

Timelines appear at the bottom of the Value Stream Map. This set of lines conveys the time-related data measured in the process improvement. While the top line indicates the process lead time, the bottom line indicates the total cycle time (some maps contain labor content instead of cycle time; when that’s the case, the line is called total work content). The other line, placed at the bottom of the map shows the travel distance (of the product or work or of the people moving) through the process.

As an effective tool to evaluate existing business or work processes, Value Stream Mapping could be a beneficial to companies of all extents:

  • They provide a glimpse at the customer’s perspective
  • A common language to observe and examine the value stream
  • Provide a holistic view of the entire process required to deliver a product to a customer
  • Help detect inefficiencies in the process at a glance
  • Help deepen employees’ understanding of the work system
  • Powerful tool to improve manufacturing production workflows

What Is The Purpose Of Value Stream Mapping (VSM)?

The primary purpose of creating a Value Stream Map is to show you the places where you can improve your process by visualising both its value-adding and wasteful steps.

You just have to put on display every important step of your workflow and evaluate how it brings value to your customer. This allows you to analyse your process in depth and provides you with hints where you should make changes to improve the way you work.

How Will Value Stream Mapping (VSM) Help?

Business is growing more competitive every day. In order to keep up with customer demand and expectations, development teams are having to work faster and be more efficient than ever before.

However, it’s not just the development teams that are impacted by these increased demands.

A Value Stream Mapping activity can help to identify and better coordinate other impacted operational teams and process segments that are integral to the overall development process.

As the Value Stream Mapping activity engages the team members, one of the key benefits that will be realised is that it provides an element of understanding to the voice of the customer.

It helps identify what it is that the customer is asking for, what they value, what they need and how to best achieve exactly that in the most efficient means possible.

Understanding quality from the customers perspective can be invaluable to the performance of the process and quality of the product.

This mapping activity can be immensely helpful in providing leaders, stakeholders and team members with a unified view.

This new view enables them to step out of their information silos and gain a more holistic understanding of the overall process and their respective roles and contributions to the finished product.

This added perspective helps them each to see their individual contributions as more significant, valued and essential to the product delivery process.

Why Use The Value Stream Mapping (VSM) Technique?

  • Allows you to see the whole process and identify waste and bottlenecks
  • Shows opportunities to improve the system
  • Quick and easy to learn technique
  • Creates the basis for understanding the process and thus implementing Lean

What's The Difference Between A Value Stream Map And A Process Map?

Value Stream Mapping is a graphical tool originally used in the auto industry to define a method for streamlining work processes called "Lean Manufacturing."

Process Mapping tracks and analyses the steps in a process, looks at the sequence of steps and eliminates those not needed or reorders steps for better efficiency.

How Often Do You Update Value Stream Maps?

Obviously, you need to keep the maps updated, and it's easy to do if you use paper and pencil.

We use these maps to communicate. If you don't show your progress, you are not communicating effectively.

You need to update them, whenever there is a change, probably once a month or so.

Is Value Stream Mapping Important In ITIL®?

Even though Value Stream Mapping was originally developed in a manufacturing context, it applies equally as well to the creation and delivery of services, as described in ITIL®.

In IT Service Management (ITSM), there are many different value streams, depending on the origins of the opportunity or demand and the outcomes and associated value that must be facilitated.

How Do You Create A Value Stream Map?

Our Value Stream Mapping Online Workshop (90 Minutes) will teach you all about Value Stream Mapping, and how you can put it into practice.

What Will You Learn?

Module 1: Value Stream Mapping Definition

  • Value Stream Mapping Definition
  • History Of Value Stream Mapping
  • The Purpose Of Value Stream Mapping
  • Benefits Of Value Stream Mapping
  • Challenges Of Value Stream Mapping
  • Value Stream Mapping Use Cases
  • Value Stream Mapping Example
  • Value Stream Mapping Symbols
  • Value Stream Mapping & Continuous Improvement

Module 2: ITIL® Value Stream Mapping

  • ITIL® Value Stream Mapping
  • Value Stream Mapping Key Metrics
  • ITIL® Service Value Stream Structure
  • Value Streams & Organisations
  • Value Stream Considerations
  • Common Value Stream Models
  • Development Of A New Service
  • Restoration Of A Live Service

Module 3: Creating A Value Stream Map

  • Value Stream Mapping Process
  • 7 Steps To Value Stream Mapping
  • Value Stream Mapping Tools
  • 8 Value Stream Mapping Tips
  • Value Stream Mapping FAQS
  • Value Stream Mapping Conclusion - What Now?

Module 4: What Have You Learned?

  • 25 Value Stream Mapping Multiple-Choice Question Assessment

Access the Value Stream Mapping Online Workshop (90 Minutes) for only £29 + VAT each. Checkout here.

Do you have any questions about Value Stream Mapping? Comment below and we will try our best to answer them for you.

And before you go why not take a look at our ITIL v4 Foundation training course?

About The Author

Lois McConnachie

Lois McConnachie

I have been working at Purple Griffon for a total of 8 years. In my role as Senior Sales Executive, I always strive to deliver a high standard of customer service, which forms the basis of all of my interactions with customers, both old and new. I believe that fostering positive relationships and understanding customer needs are essential for providing effective training solutions. In my personal time, I enjoy relaxing with my Fiancé, drinking iced coffee and watching too much anime.

Tel: +44 (0)1539 736 828

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