In this blog post
Nowadays, the focus on process improvement in projects has decreased due to multi-tasking. If we try to focus on process improvement in all the projects, that will help organizations deliver value, improve productivity, customer satisfaction, and the ability to be more competitive.
The major expectation to do Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is to deliver superior products, reduce costs and time-to-market. If we fail to do the process improvement project across the organization, we will end up losing our customers and impacting our businesses. Hence, we should give value added services to our customers. In this scenario, the best concept which we can implement is VSM. The more simplistic and structured the task, the easier it is to do.
Conversely, if anyone in your projects fail to notice any improvement areas at the end of the day, the entire team will suffer. We must prevent this type of scenarios proactively.
In this article, we will discuss why VSM is required for an organization.
What is VSM?
Value stream mapping is a useful technique for visually representing delivery of products and services to identify opportunities for improvement. The ITIL 4 foundation defines the Value Stream Mapping which is used to analyze the current state and design a future state for the process, that takes a product from start to finish by identifying and eliminating waste.
A value stream mapping works on the end-to-end process, and improves the whole process, not just the parts. By using VSM we can identify how much effort it takes currently and how to eliminate the unnecessary steps from the existing process to make it better.
Implementing VSM offers several benefits, such as:
Advantages of VSM
- Helps to visualize the production flow
- Allows to see waste in the system
- Creates framework for designing complete system
- Demonstrates interaction between information and material flow
- Very easy to implement
It is one of the tools for Lean Manufacturing. The centre rule of lean implementation is to eliminate waste— any action that doesn’t add value to the customer requirement is termed as ‘waste’. The value stream map gives a premise to recognize unnecessary work (‘Muda’), especially with respect to:
- Processing Activities
The core objective of Lean is to add value to the customer. However, without a clear picture of the process through which you deliver a product or service, you can’t improve the value provided to the customer.
Where can VSM be used?
The concepts of VSM can be applied to any product or service delivery framework, including:
- Software development
- Government services
- Service Desk
Steps in Mapping Value Stream
The principle objective of a value stream map is to:
1. Identify the Product or Service that You Want to Map:
First, we need to identify the process that we want to make leaner and more efficient.
It’s important to define the scope of the problem in this step. So, start identifying each process steps in the process. This will allow you to identify the roadblock and non-value add activities. Also, it will help to identify which part of the overall process we need to look at.
2. How to create your current Value Stream Map?
To write the current value stream step by step, include people who manage and support the various parts of the value stream. It’s important here to include people who do the work, and not just the managers or team.
Then gather the following data to complete the map.
Brainstorm with the teams who are involved in the process for generating ideas to make the process better. What is needed to deliver the product and fulfil the customer need and the tasks or activities that go into producing the products.
Put these tasks in order and include time and costs, actual working time for each task to build up a picture of average performance for an activity.
Example of how a Value Stream map applied to a fast-food delivery restaurant
The below diagram is a basic example of a value stream map which is applied to a fast-food delivery restaurant:
In this diagram, the customer has ordered food from fast food delivery restaurant.
- The restaurant received the customer order, and the next step is to process the order
- Then the food is prepared
- The next step is to package the food
- The food is delivered to the customer
While in each step, there will be some waiting time. Example: Once the order is received, there will be some waiting time to process the order and there will be some waiting time to prepare the food and to package the food.
Here we need to reduce the waiting time in each step to improve the process efficiency.
And VSM also talks about process time, cycle time and availability mentioned below:
Process time (PT): The time wherein one item spends in a process step.
Cycle Time (CT): The time between two items which emerges from the cycle step.
Availability (A): The rate uptime for the action gear.
3. Analyze Your Current Value Stream
Here, we are analyzing our current value steam whether each activity in the process is adding value or not. This is where you can identify opportunities to create a leaner and more efficient process.
While analyzing your current value stream, consider the following points:
At every point in the process, ask yourself, “Does this activity add value?”
Find the value-add points first and then find the non-value add points (for example, which steps are taking more time and effort). Determine the non-value added activities in your projects and try to eliminate that to make the process more streamline.
4. Create a “Future State” Value Stream Map
Think and find the future state after we eliminated the non-value-added activities.
To do the activity, consider the following:
- Using techniques like SCAMPER and DOWNTIME, non-value add activities are identified.
- Take a look at same activities and see if there’s a way to group them.
- Identify bottlenecks and critical events.
- Look for the approaches to simplify activities which might be complicated.
- Confirm that each activity in your process adds value for your customers.
5. Create a Plan to Implement the Desired State
When we have identified the key objectives, we can develop a plan for change. Let’s look at the key points:
- Use the VSM to communicate your goals and objectives to all stakeholders.
- Include the people who are involved in the process.
- Talk frequently about the lean and efficient operations so that it becomes part of your corporate culture.
6. Implement the Plan
Once we set a goal in mind to improve our value stream, use lean processes such as Kaizen, Kanban, and Just In Time .
7. Review and Repeat
After implementing the changes, we need to review our result carefully whether we made the improvements or not. Then, apply what we’ve learnt to implement in other areas of the business.
VSM is critical in simplifying your process and eliminates waste from the Process and improving Process Efficiency.