Home

A typical Value Stream Mapping team is made up of about seven people (I found this size works well), mostly managerial or supervisory level. Having a larger group makes it difficult to have everyone walk the flow and gather data. Having a smaller group tends to limit the ability to create a meaningful future state. Have an experience person lead the team and facilitate the first few events until you are comfortable with Value Stream Mapping. That includes bringing in an outside resource like a consultant.

Team members can be drawn from several areas within an organization such as:

  • Production control/scheduling
  • Operations management
  • Key floor leaders/supervisors
  • Information Technology.
  • Materials/logistics/warehousing material handlers
  • Marketing/sales/customer service
  • Accounting/finance
  • Human resources
  • Purchasing/receiving
  • Process/design engineering/engineering
  • Quality
  • Supplier/vendors
  • Internal/external customers

Choose people that are knowledgeable enough about the inner workings of your organization (also having an outsider or new person may be helpful), but the key here is that you trust these people enough to create the future state. Make sure the team fairly represents the scope of your project and that key stakeholders are involved.

Not everyone can be on the team. One of the ways to make up for this is to let people know that they may be interviewed to help with the process. A warning here – if you have 20 people in the customer service department you will probably not interview all 20. My recommendation is to interview someone that has a good working knowledge of the process family and is able to succinctly answer questions.

One of the best VSM events I facilitated included the customer (who was also the supplier of the materials). Many companies wouldn’t dream of letting a customer in to see their operations. This company was above that type of thinking. The most amazing things started to occur when we discovered that the customer/supplier was causing internal problems for this company and that many steps were redundant. This opened up everyone’s eye and discussions on improvement flowed forth.

Sign up for our free webinar “Introduction to Value Stream Mapping” on Thursday, September 29, 2011 and if you need items for your VSM event visit us at www.5Ssupply.com.

– Tony

Many books and articles do a great job explaining Values Stream Mapping especially for a product family, current state map, future state map and implementation plan. What about after you completed your first VSM? You already spent months completing the things on your VSM plan (well, most of them, anyway) so what do you do now? Here are two approaches you can use:

  1. Work on your first Value Stream Map again
  2. Start a second Value Stream Map

Do it again

Working on your original VSM again shows your commitment to continuous improvement. By already harvesting the low hanging fruit this will force you to dig deeper and really apply Lean Thinking to your processes. Most first attempts at VSM aren’t perfect, so this will give you a chance to improve what you have already worked on.

Start a New Map

The second thing you might consider doing is starting on another value stream map for a different Process (a.k.a. Product) Family. You don’t actually have to wait until you have completed the first VSM; it is more of a resource issue. Do you have enough people, time and the budget to start to make changes on another facility level value stream? Or maybe at this point you have discovered that you need to do some more process level maps to make improvements. My advice is to not get too focused one way or another. As soon as someone says we need to map out another process family, I might ask if they need to dive down in a little more detail. If they say that they should focus only on process level maps, I might suggest looking at another process family. The point is to not assume that there is only one right answer. It’s what’s important to the organization.

How to make the transition

This can seem to be daunting for some organizations. It’s not really that hard, you just have to be prepared for it. The first thing to remember is that the success of your first map will have an impact on your second. That is, how well you did completing your plan on the first map will set the stage for your next map.

One way to get ready for Future State 2 is to have a team meeting. Start by reassembling the original VSM team. Perform a review of the map and plan. Although the Value Stream Manager has been updating the map and the plan, it might be useful to do this one more time with the entire team present. Present the facts, current conditions, progress and completed projects or kaizen events. The next thing do is to talk about and capture lessons learned. A “lesson learned” can be a either good feedback or opportunities for improvement for next time. I doubt that anyone starting their very first value stream map is going to be perfect in execution the first time through. We need to learn from this including learning from our mistakes. Don’t be afraid to look at the cold hard truth about how well you did as a team completing your future state. Next, walk the flow again as a team. Focus on looking for waste. Talk with the value-adders to get insights on how things went and how they are going now.

After the walk the team has to make a critical decision; create a Future State for the original process family, start a new Value Stream Map for another process family or both. In my experience, it mostly boils down to resources; do we have enough people and time to start a new map now?

Sign up for our free webinar “Introduction to Value Stream Mapping” on Thursday, September 29, 2011.

For more resources for VSM, click here>> 5S Supply & Value Stream Mapping

 

During a Value Stream Mapping event a team member asked “Why do we have to walk the flow, we can get the data we need by using our computer system and reports?” Here are seven advantages to walking the flow versus just data dumping in a conference room:

  1. The team gets to hear first-hand from the people who actually do the work and their perception of the status of their task.
  2. The team sees all the hand-offs and distances traveled just to get an order through your system.
  3. It gives you another chance to look for and see waste in your operations.
  4. It gets the people (value-adders) involved, their opinions are heard, and builds buy-in.
  5. It is a great way to verify management’s idea of what’s going on versus what is actually going on.
  6. The team gets to walk the entire distance and possibly see opportunities for improvement in layout; this may be a good time to draw a “spaghetti diagram”.
  7. It allows team members to become more familiar with areas that they do not normally visit in their daily routines

During this process of training the team will interview the people who perform the task to gather data and information. When you perform the interview, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Remember, people may be nervous when they see a troop of people marching towards them with clipboards. The best thing to do is to communicate with people in advance that you will be visiting them to gather information for your Value Stream Mapping project. If it is not possible to contact the individuals ahead of time, another alternative may be to communicate to the entire staff via newsletter, bulletin board, departmental meetings or other means that a VSM event will be performed.

Sign up for our free webinar “Introduction to Value Stream Mapping” on Thursday, September 29, 2011.

For more resources for VSM, click here>> 5S Supply & Value Stream Mapping