What Is a Value Stream Map and How Useful Is It?

A value stream map is a tool that helps to have a complete perspective of the processes and, at the same time, to identify those phases in which the available resources are not being optimized to the maximum. Thanks to this information, the process can be redesigned, whether it is a logistics-type process associated with the supply chain or a process of any other type.

What is a value stream map

A value stream map is a representation of a process . Its objective is to show the different stages that a process goes through and identify the characteristics of each one of them and, especially, the value that each one of them contributes to the product or service that is represented on the value map.

The representation of a value stream map can vary. In fact, there is no single way to represent it. However, in all cases, it must be done by clearly defining each of the phases or stages of the process represented, as well as the aspects of each phase, the value that it contributes to the product or service.

In addition, it is also very important that the entire value stream map uses a unified symbology , as it helps to correctly understand the stream that is being represented.

What is a value stream map for?

The importance of a value stream map is that it is a tool that allows you to obtain a complete perspective of a process. In addition, this complete perspective also allows to identify each of the stages and, most importantly, to identify what value each of these stages adds to the product or service in question.

In this way, it is a very useful tool when it comes to identifying actions that do not add value to the product but that, like any action that is part of a process, does have a cost. Thanks to the value flow maps, these actions or phases that are superfluous and do not add value can be identified, and then the process can be redesigned to eliminate them (this is what is known as lean logistics methodology ).

How to Make a Value Stream Map

There are different ways to make a value stream map. Depending on the characteristics of the process to be represented, each map in question may need to have particular characteristics that differentiate it from the rest.

However, a common way to create a value stream map is as follows:

  • Define the process that you want to represent.
  • Define the symbols or ideograms to be used.
  • Collect the information related to the process to be represented.
  • Carry out the value stream map according to the information available from the previous steps
    Analysis of the value stream map in search of problems in the process. That is, locate those activities represented on the value stream map that, despite being carried out, do not add value to the product or service.
  • Obtain the conclusions and apply them to redesign the process and eliminate those activities that do not add value to the process.

Talking about value flow maps is talking about very useful tools when it comes to identifying problems in processes, whether they are production processes or logistics processes. These maps help us to identify tasks that, without adding value, do consume time and resources, thus making the product unnecessarily expensive.

Thanks to the value flow maps, a complete vision of the logistics processes is obtained and, in this way, they can be redesigned, making them cheaper and more efficient , at the same time that quality is not reduced either in the product or in the service.

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