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If you decide to take a trip for the first time, it is advisable to look at a map. As you read the map you will realize that you need five very important pieces of information before you can start your journey:

1. Where are you starting from?

2. Where is your final destination?

3. How do you get from the starting point to your final destination?

4. How much time do you have to complete the trip?

5. What is the cost of the journey?

By using a map you will be able to determine which direction you need to go to get to your final destination and you can estimate how many miles you need to travel. With this information you can choose your mode of transport to get you to your destination within the time available. If you drive you can estimate your total travel time, number of rest stops and gas usage, etc. I know what your thinking, "this is all just plain common sense."

Well, you would be surprised at the number of organizations who start out on a journey to create change without first determining "where they are starting from today" and then planning for "where their final destination is going to be" in order to get the best results for their business.

If you don't know where you going any road will do. - Alice in Wonderland

Value stream mapping (VSM) is a great tool to get you focused on customer needs. VSM will give a 30,000 feet view of the whole system and from this vantage point you can identify key areas to improve first in order to give customers what they want, when they want it. Using a value stream map you will see how the current activities are performed, how much time each activity is taking and which activities are "Value Adding" or "Non-value Adding". Customers are only willing to pay for for value, not waste or non-value activities like, rework, scrap, etc. Once you identify waste, you see it and then you can try to eliminate it.  However, if you can't see waste then it stays hidden and continues to add additional costs to the finished products.

There are three stages to Value stream Mapping:

  1. A Current State Value Stream Map will show just how you are supplying your customers today. Using the Current State Map you can clearly see waste and from this determine what to change and in what order of priority these changes need to occur. The end result is to identify any process improvements that will allow your company to supply your customers in more effective manner.
  2. The next stage is to create a Future State Value Stream Map. This will allow you to eliminate or reduce waste from the current state process and it shows graphically the overall effects of these changes on the manufacturing process before you even move or change anything. Usually the Future State Value Stream Map is a vision of the manufacturing process over the next 6 - 12 months.
  3. Develop an implementation plan using the Future State Map. This implementation plan will define what to do, when to do it and who is responsible.

If you know where you are today, it's much easier to know where you want to be tomorrow, and you can plan to make the transition into the future state a much easier, enjoyable and successful event.





                                                                     Example of the look of a value stream map  




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