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Before making a flowchart, complete Value Stream Mapping (VSM) 【Toyota Production System】

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Before making a flowchart, complete ...

The Value Stream Map was created by Toyota, with which you can describe your process with only the flows of goods and information. Overall, you can write the whole picture of the business flow without making the steps of the business flow too detailed.

(Duration: 4:42)

DOWNLOAD  ← Click this to download the “Value Stream Mapping” template file.

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Value Stream Mapping (VSM) that the Toyota Production System created

Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma Black belt.

Today, I would like to talk about Value Stream Mapping that the Toyota Production System created.

You may think of using a flowchart to describe your process graphically. However, I rarely use it for a current situation analysis because it requires us to focus on details in the process.  Even though you wrote it, you cannot see the big picture of the process since it’s too detailed.

The best method for the current situation analysis is the Value Stream Map.  The true name that Toyota calls it in Japanese is “Object and information flow diagram”.

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Let’s look at an actual Value Stream Map.  In the diagram, the red bold lines are the flow of objects and the blue lines are the flow of information.  Another major element is each step of the process, which is described with squares.  You can see clearly what objects and information are going into and coming out of each step of the process and where they end up.

Many applications of Value Stream Map (VSM)

I’ve talked about the PDCA Cycle many times.  P stands for Plan and you should make a plan before whatever you will do.  Having said that, there is one thing you have to do before planning.  It is researching and analyzing the current situation.  We cannot make an ideal plan without knowing the current situation.

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As I mentioned it earlier, since this method mainly deals with the flow of objects and information, it will describe the big picture of the target process, balanced with details.

Since there is no need for thorough research and you can write it in a short amount of time, it is a great tool for the Define Phase in a Lean Sigma project where you want to know the current situation.

After completing your Project Charter, WBS and Value Stream Map, show them to your stakeholders.  Your project will be clarified and made official.

There are two things that I would like you to try by referring to this current process’s Value Stream Map:  The Value-added/Non-value-added analysis and the 8-Wastes analysis.

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Gather your front-line supervisors and have them find any wastes that won’t give any value to your customers by referring to this diagram.  Also, you may find some area where each supervisor has different perceptions.  If so, most likely the front-line employees are facing some kind of problem every day around that area.

You can also apply this method in the Analyze Phase where you design improved process.  You can use this not only to improve existing processes, but also when you design a brand-new process.  Since it doesn’t show too many details, you can discuss the big picture.  Therefore, before writing a flowchart for a new process, you should write this Value Stream Map.

SIPOC Analysis, which prepares for Value Stream Map (VSM)

I would like to explain how to write a Value Stream Map, but I can’t do it now because we usually don’t know each process, even though Black Belts are professionals of process improvement.  We have to ask and rely on the front-line people about the process.

It is best to conduct the SIPOC analysis with the front-line people.  With this analysis, you can organize all inputs and outputs from each step of the process very easily.

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Today, I explained about the Value Stream Map and introduced the SIPOC analysis.  In the next episode, I’ll explain the SIPOC analysis more and we’ll practice the tool using Excel templates.

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