What we call Value Stream Mapping today stems from Toyota Motor Company’s “Material and Information Flow diagrams.” In its basic form, it shows the process steps from order entry to delivery. The “Value Stream” is where you actually add value to the product or service by changing the market form or function to meet the customer’s needs. If you are not adding value, you are probably adding waste (muda). VSM is an extremely powerful tool because it combines material processing steps with the information flow and very important related information. The pictorial representation is an easy to learn language that anyone in your organization can understand; this is a key element when communicating with the maps.
The four steps to Value Stream Mapping are: 1) to determine the Process Families (a.k.a. Product Families), 2) draw the Current State Map, 3) determine the Future State Map, and 4) create the Plan to get to the improved future state.
Value Stream Mapping is one of the most powerful Lean tools for an organization to plan, implement and improve on their Lean Journey. It will allow you to create a solid implementation plan that will make the most of your available resources.
2. Jeffrey Liker, “The Toyota Way”, 2004