Value Stream Mapping Definition according to Lean Manufacturing

value stream mapping


In this article, you will learn what is value stream mapping and how to implement it in 10 steps using lean manufacturing techniques.

Value Stream Mapping Definition

Value stream mapping (VSM), is a visual diagram of every step involved in the material and information flows needed to create a product from order to delivery.

Value stream mapping is the process to analyze and describe the current manufacturing state and designing a future state for the series of events that take a product or service more efficiently from its beginning through the end, including the end-user or customer.

The value stream is a sequence of activities required to design, produce, and provide a specific good or service, and along which information, materials, and worth flows.

It is actually a Lean tool. The basic idea is to first map your process, then above it map the information flow that enables the process to occur.  Value stream mapping identifies waste in day-to-day operations.

How to Implement a Value Stream Mapping in 10 Steps.

The main objective of value-stream mapping is to recognize and remove or reduce “waste” in value streams, thereby increasing the efficiency of a particular value stream.

Step 1: Gather the actual Stream Mapping information from your current operations. Obtain the historic information of your process, design, and product from the previous lots manufactured and sold.

Step 2: Build a list of customers and customer’s requirements considering the product routing.

Step 3: Sort your customers by categories considering the volume of sales and the industry they represent

Step 4: Sort your raw materials and components by categories considering their suppliers and the volume of pieces and their cost.

Step 5: Group the product categories and families considering their common manufacturing steps and sequence of operation.

Step 6: Determine and select the most critical and important Value Stream mapping to start with. Consider the value stream of those products or piece parts with the highest percent of your business.  But also, consider the value stream with:

  • The highest percentage of sales volume.
  • Market changes affecting consumer demand.
  • Profit margins of individual products.
  • Warranty data affecting various product lines.
  • Most enthusiasm from the company.

Don’t forget to start with one value stream at a time.

Step 7: Build a detailed and visual flow chart of your value stream map considering each individual operation activity.

Step 8: Validate the flow chart of your value stream map making a physical visit of confirmation in your manufacturing operations place.  Gather the information and data necessary and relevant from your process as you walk upstream of your operations.

Step 9: Create a new and more efficient value stream map from the lessons learned and the historic information.  Use all available metrics and measurements to build the most robust and cost-effective value stream map.

Step 10: Test the proposed new value stream map with a prototype to challenge your proposed improvements and redesigned process before implementing it officially in your manufacturing operations.

Once implemented the new value stream mapping, get the metrics and feedback of your employees and customers to make future improvements and fine-tuning it.  Then, repeat the same 10 steps to the next value stream map that requires your attention.

In Summary,

A value stream map takes into account not only the activity of the product but the management and information systems that support the basic process.

This is especially helpful when working to reduce cycle time because you gain insight into the decision-making flow in addition to the process flow.

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CIQA is a quality and regulatory consultant with 25 years of experience developing products and managing projects in the medical device supply chain, and pharmaceutical industries. Rest assured of the safety or being in the right hands.

Our Lean Manufacturing team could provide you a broad range of professional expertise implementing these techniques and tools.


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Ramon Cayuela, MS, BS, Chemical Engineering

CIQA President and CEO.
I've been working in validation engineering since 1992 with many multinational pharmaceutical companies. I love sharing my passion and knowledge with others. If you have any questions about anything (or just have general questions). I will be more than happy to assist you. You can count on the BEST customer service on CIQA. I go to great lengths to make sure my clients are 100% satisfied with their purchases and check emails/messages consistently throughout the day. You can rest assured that everything being sold here is as-described or your money back. I look forward to working with you!