Value Stream Mapping

Written by Elisabeth Forsythe
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As a manufacturer, your goal is to turn out products that consumers want to purchase. Pretty easy, huh? Not really. Did you know that statistics show that in a typical manufacturing business, up to 60 percent of their activities do not add value to their products? That means more than half of your day could be bogged down by wasteful actions that prevent your business from operating at peak efficiency. Value Stream Mapping can help you identify and eliminate waste to improve your productivity.

But what is a value stream, anyway? The value stream is all the actions that result in bringing raw materials together to produce a finished product, and deliver said product into the hands of your customers. This involves everything from ordering materials from suppliers, to your production lines, to your shipping and billing methods. Every single process should be reviewed.

With Value Stream Mapping, you quite literally draw a map of your business. You write down every step your company takes, following the flow of information and materials down to the end result. Now take a step back. You are free to analyze every one of your business procedures, and to ask yourself, "Would a customer pay for this?" There are probably some particular processes already in place that are efficient and cost-effective. But there may also be bottlenecks that you weren't fully aware of, and other problems that can be solved.

Fight Profit Erosion with Value Stream Mapping

After you complete your map of how things are in the present, you can create a map of how you'd like things to operate in the future. In doing so, you can make sure that your physical space is utilized efficiently, your lead time is reduced, and potential defects are averted. Value Stream Mapping can get you on the road to a streamlined production line that can save you time and money.

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