How to do Value Stream Mapping easy way? + template

How to create value stream map, how to read it? And who should really understand how value stream should wokr? Not just theses questions are answered in this article.

This article contains:

  • What is Value stream?
  • Different mapping levels
  • Value Stream Mapping tool usage
  • What makes value stream lean
  • Material and information flow
  • Value stream mapping symbols
  • Timeline bars and challenges in the map
  • Download Value Strem Map Examples – Excel
Value stream map example

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What is value stream?

Value stream is all the actions required to bring a product through all required processes.

  1. From raw material to customer in the case of products
  2. From concept to launch in the case of design

Value stream map helps to understand connections between value stream single processes, visualize material and information flow through those processes and how they are linked together.

It helps to see wastes and sources of those wastes in whole stream, by which you can avoid cherry picking and improve the whole picture. On top of that, It is a great tool to understand value-added and nonvalue-added activities.

Non-value added activities in the office identification – read here

Value stream single processes and its non-value added activities
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Learning to See – Creating Mixed Model – Guru Books

I strongly recommend to have Learning to See book and Mixed model Valuestream for all managers, for all supervisors, engineers and leaders. You will understand how to reach ideal Value stream and processes set up.

If you would like to buy “Learning to see” book by Mike Rother click on this affiliate marketing link:

f you would like to buy “Creating Mixed Model VS” book by Kevin J Duggan click on this affiliate marketing link:

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Different mapping levels

Value Stream Mapping can be used in different levels of the views. From very high level – call it company or facility level, through middle – portion of facility, as well as the process level.

This is one of my favorite tools, I am using in my projects a lot.

I believe that Value stream map of the facility should be one of the first activities for new commers to your processes.

Erik from six sigma mania

Minimally all the staff people should know and understand it very well, but most of the people are feared and scared if you ask them about it. It could easily be a common communication tool between departments, where most of the frictions happens.

How to do Gemba / waste walk? – read here (+template)

Takt time, Cycle time and Lead time calculation – explanatory video

Value Stream Mapping tool usage

Follow these several steps to be successful with value stream mapping:

  • Make sure, there is just one person leading. but Mapping should be a team effort.
  • You must to know which level of the map you want to draw first.
  • To start mapping you need to choose product family. By doing this, you identify products going through similar process steps. This will help team to focus on products that customer really wants.
  • Understand customer requirements prior visiting process.
  • Visit mapped processes with paper and pencil in hand, so everyone in the team can see connection between reality and drawn picture.
  • Map a present state of chosen product family. Use stopwatch and rely on real times. Collect all information about material flow, inventory included. Mark Information flow when you done with material.
  • Start at the process end, and continue upstream.
  • End up with drawing suppliers and their connections to the value stream.
  • Review current state map and identify obvious opportunities for improvement.
Product family identification

How to identify 8 wastes of Lean? – read here

Download 8 wastes of lean

It is great to have waste types on paper with you during Gemba. Download it, use it, and share it.

8 deadly wastes of lean

And here is promised link:

What makes value stream lean

Next step is to Map desired, the ideal state of chosen product. We would like to see lean value stream. so, what makes it lean? It is eliminating all nonvalue-added activities. The mother of nonvalue added activities and wastes, is overproduction. Follow next 8 steps to eliminate it.

  1. Produce to the takt time.
  2. Develop continuous flow whereever possible.
  3. Use supermarkets or FIFO lanes to control production where continuous flow is not possible.
  4. Try to schedule only one production process. Called pacemaker process. It is usually the closes process to the customer.
  5. Produce different products from the product family over the time. It can be daily or weekly. Level the production mix in other words.
  6. Level production volumes in the next step. Do not release large batches of the products. Distribute them over the time.
  7. Develop ability to make every part every day, or every interval upstream of your pacemaker process.
  8. Last step is to Develop implementation plan to reach future state.

Takt time, cycle time calculation formulas + template – read here

What makes value stream lean?

The best continuous improvement tools? – read here (+template)

Material and information flow

Material flow is usually drawn from the left to right, information flow from right to left.

  • Use different colors for each flow, for better visualization. Under each cell representing operation fill describing information.
  • Counted pieces,
  • Cycle time ,
  • Change over time,
  • Number of shifts or working time,
  • Number of people per shift or operation,
  • Downtime or uptime,
  • Batch or pack sizes,
  • Scrap rate, and so on. Choose information, that fits to your needs. Use whatever units fits for you, just stay unified for all processes.
How material and information flow is marked to the map.

Voice of the customer – how to perform? – read here

Value stream mapping symbols

There are standard symbols used in mapping. You can download it from the link below, if you need. But mapping should serve to people, not reversely.

So, use symbols or pictures you and your team understand better, like this example.

Value stream map symbols

To download VSM symbols click here:

I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar counts, too 😉 Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort

Timeline bars and challenges in the map

Great for understanding the flow during the time is timeline bars inserted below completed map. Lower bar for process cycle time, upper bar for between operations time. Counting upper times, we get production lead time, lower times addition gives us processing time. By dividing processing time with lead time, we get process efficiency.

I like to also list all challenges and wastes from Gemba walk below each process box, so team see all the information in one place.

Time bars incorporated to the map + efficiency calculation

11 six sigma certification companies review – read here

If your intention is to be an expert on value stream mapping read Learning to see book by Mike Rother and John Shook, first. It is a great source of detailed information about mapping and building future state. Find the link below to order the book.

Download Value Stream Map Examples – Excel

You can download Value stream map examples showed in this article for free. It is excel file with 3 different level of Value stream mapped.

Corporate level Value Stream Map example
Facility level Value Stream Map example
Process level Value Stream Map – example

To download Value Stream Examples click here:

I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar counts, too 😉 Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort

Do not forget to visit and subscribe my YouTube channel. I am uploading Six Sigma, Lean and Project oriented videos regurarly. So, stay tuned.

Yours sincerely Erik.

Value stream explanatory video

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