Process Improvement: Value Stream MappingPosted on September 17, 2017

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this? The value stream map is very similar to last week’s tool, the Spaghetti Diagram. Almost all jobs have processes that are considered routine. Most of the time, you might not even think that most of these processes are a candidate for improvement. However, if you do happen to consider one of these routine processes, your familiarity with the process might be your biggest barrier to improvement. It can blind you to gaps and opportunities because you think you already know everything that there is to know about it. What is the case for doing it anyway? In this case, the Value Stream Map is best applied to a process that is performed beyond the constraint of a singular location and therefore can’t be easily mapped visually. The tool will help you visually represent a process in a way that aims to help you identify wasteful or unnecessary steps in the process. It will require you to break each individual step down into one of two categories: value added step and non-value added step. This simple step is a powerful one that enables you as a leader to clearly sort through pieces of your process. How can you do it? 
  1. Select a process. Identify a process that you want to evaluate. The best candidates for this tool are processes that can represented spatially.
  2. Create your flow chart. Almost all process can be represented visually. Create a visual representation of your process by identifying key steps or components into a flow chart style.
  3. Create value. Consider each step and whether or not it is necessary to achieve the desired procedural outcome. If it is, then it adds value. If it isn’t then it doesn’t add value.
  4. Evaluate. No tool is effective if we fail to evaluate the data it produces.
Have you ever used the value added concept to evaluate a process? Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.
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