Value Stream Mapping: Purpose, Use & Examples

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  • 0:01 Value Stream Mapping
  • 1:30 Purpose & Use
  • 3:02 Not Just Manufacturing
  • 3:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Not all stages of production always add value during the production process. In this lesson, you'll learn about value stream mapping and how it can be used in lean manufacturing and other areas to improve the results for businesses and customers.

Value Stream Mapping

Meet Liam. His company manufactures boats. Liam's company utilizes lean manufacturing and employs value stream mapping. Before digging in to value stream mapping, let's take a quick look at what lean manufacturing is to provide some context to our discussion.

Lean manufacturing is about doing more with less. Lean manufacturers like Liam can do this by following some basic principles. First, his company attempts to eliminate waste, including such things as over-production, excess inventory, and inefficient workplace design and flow. Second, Liam can increase his company's speed and response time. Lean producers also try to improve the quality of production by identifying and excising defects and mistakes in the production process.

Lean manufacturers also try to reduce costs by reducing waste, creating more efficient processes, using more efficient equipment, and reducing costly errors or defects in the manufacturing process. Value stream mapping is a technique where you graphically map out the flow of the production process. You can think of a value stream as all the activities that are involved in producing a product from start to finish. And you can think of a value stream map as a special kind of flow chart with specialized symbols that illustrate the flow of all materials, information, and related activities from the start of the production process to its end.

Purpose & Use

Mapping out material, information, and activities can be a powerful tool for a lean manufacturer like Liam for several reasons. Mapping out the entire production process from start to finish, with all the component parts and steps, allows you to see the big picture and how each part can affect the whole process. This allows you to identify waste in the value stream.

For example, Liam may be able to eliminate some waste by noting that painters have to stop painting the boats to go to a supply room when they are out of paint. If the day's requirements for paint were already in the paint stalls, much time throughout the day would be saved, thereby reducing waste and increasing efficiency. Likewise, he may determine that much time can be saved by changing from three 8-hour work shifts per day to two 12-hour work shifts because of the downtime expended between shift changes.

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