Empowering Lean Solutions for Everyone

Value Stream Mapping

Value Stream Mapping Definitions

  • The Value Stream Mapping creates a map of the actions taken to bring a product into existence, from the raw material stage to the finished good stage.
  • It can be extended to the design aspect, from concept to launch.
  • It can look at the big picture, across different plants or it can be restricted to the operations in one facility, even one department, as a starting point.
  • The Value Stream Map is a pictorial representation of the flow of material and information as the product is being built.

Training in Value Stream Mapping

For training take a look at the Value Stream Mapping PowerPoint Presentation, part of the Lean Thinking Series. It is a very useful training tool, and it can be used in conjunction with the Lean Lego Boat Simulation, as it uses the Lego example to build the current and future state maps.


  • VSM helps us visualize better the flow without being limited to the single-process level.
  • It is a powerful tool in identifying waste.
  • It forms the basis of an implementation plan.
  • It shows the linkage between material flow and the information flow.
  • It provides a common language to talk about manufacturing processes.
  • It is a communication tool.
  • It is a business-planning tool.
  • It is a tool to manage the change process.
  • VSM helps us see and focus on flow with a vision of an ideal or improved state.

The Value Stream Manager

  • The Value Stream Mapping process needs one person with lead responsibility for understanding a product family’s value stream and improving it, the value stream manager.
  • The manager should report to the top person on site.

Generate the Value Stream Map

  • Choose a product or product family
  • Depict the customer requirements
  • Follow the flow of the product from shipping to the raw material stage
  • Draw the processing steps used to process, move and store the product
  • Input the process and inventory data
  • Draw the information flow
  • Draw a time line depicting the lead time

Generate the Future State Map

  • Calculate the Target (Takt)
  • Time Produce at your Takt Time
  • Develop continuous flow wherever possible
  • Use supermarkets to control production
  • Determine the pacemaker process
  • Level the production mix
  • Level the production volume (Paced withdrawal)
  • Ability to make every part every day

Achieving the future state

  • Breaking implementation into steps
  • The pacemaker loop
  • Additional loops
  • The Value Stream Plan
  • Value Stream Improvement