Consultants in Lean Manufacturing Á Manufacturing Strategy

Consultants in Lean Manufacturing & Manufacturing Strategy

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Strategos offers several books and eBooks written by our associates on lean topics. Click on "Products" at the main menu for more information.We also offer several useful banners and datasets for analyzing inventory.

The Strategos Guide To Value Stream and Process Mapping goes far beyond symbols and arrows. In over 163 pages it tells the reader not only how to do it but what to do with it. More info...

Strategos Guide to Value Stream & Process Mapping


Guide to Cycle Counting

Warehouse Planning Guide

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Value Stream Mapping 

How To Do It; What To Do With It 


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What Is A Value Stream?

A Value Stream is “the set of all the specific actions required to bring a specific product through the three critical management tasks of any business: …problem solving, …information management, …physical transformation”. --Womack & Jones


Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a visualization tool oriented to the Toyota version of Lean Manufacturing (Toyota Production System). It helps to understand and streamline work processes using the tools and techniques of Lean Manufacturing.

VSM addresses material process sequences and flows as well as information flows that impact this movement. It encourages data acquisition in a systematic manner that often gives additional insights. The various icons and symbols have fairly specific meanings and it requires knowledge of these symbols as well as knowledge of TPS to interpret a Value Stream Map and use it well.

VSM InstructorValue Stream Maps reflect a broad view of the process, usually from external supplier to external customer at a given facility. Extended Value Stream Maps take an even broader view and often incorporate tier two and tier three suppliers and distributors.

Like Process Mapping, VSM is most valuable in a group setting. Many of the problems it exposes reach across organizational lines of responsibility and expertise. When a mapping team has representation from all the different functions and specialties, it gains a common understanding of the process and a better position for developing and implementing good solutions.

When To Use Value Stream Maps

Mapping TeamNo mapping technique fits every situation and purpose. Use Value Stream Mapping for high-production, low-variety product mixes with few components and subassemblies and dedicated equipment. In other situations, Process Mapping, often combined with a Group Technology analysis may be a better choice.

Present State Mapping

A Present State Map shows work processes as they currently exist. This is vital both to understand the need for change and to understand where opportunities lie. While Value Stream Maps appear complex, their construction is easy when taken in logical steps. These  illustrations show how. A broad-based team should perform this exercise.

Typical Value Stream Map

VSM Advantages and disadvantages

Where To Use VSM

Value Stream Mapping works best with dedicated processes and low variety as often found in automotive and consumer product operations.  

Present State Value Stream Mapping,  Step-By-Step (Click to Enlarge)

4. Draw outbound shipping icon and truck with delivery frequency.

5. Draw inbound shipping icon, truck and delivery frequency.

vsm step 2
vsm step 2

6. Add process boxes, in sequence, left to right.

7. Add data boxes below. 

vsm step 3
vsm step 3

8. Add communication arrows. Note methods & frequencies.

9. Obtain process attributes. Add to data boxes.

10. Add operator symbols.

vsm step 4
vsm step 4

11. Add inventory locations and levels in days of demand & graph at bottom.

12. Add push, pull and FIFO icons.

13. Add other useful information.

vsm step 5
vsm step 5

14. Add working hours.

15. Add cycle and lead times

16. Calculate total cycle & lead time.

vsm step 6
vsm step 6

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