Value Stream Mapping

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a lean visual tool that represents the flow of material and information as the product goes through the production process. It is basically used in manufacturing sectors though can be equally beneficial in the service and complex business operations too.

Uses of Value Stream Mapping VSM in other business sectors-

  1. Manufacturing- Material flow
  2. Health service- Patient flow
  3. Service- Information flow
  4. Business- Information and customer flow

The main advantage we get after using Value Stream Mapping VSM is the Identification of wastes.

Although VSM and process maps are largely confused for their identical procedures. However, VSM is a broad term and has many differences such as:

  • Value Stream Mapping (VSM) incorporates more processes and displays a large number of information that a process map.
  • Value Stream Mapping (VSM) can cover the entire operation of the business model ranging from receiving orders to transport of finished goods.
  • Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is more popular in Kaizen and other process improvement projects.


Something of value means that it is performing well at a minimum cost.

Value= Performance/Cost

Value is defined from customer’s perspective

Based on value, there are 2 types of activities:

  1. Value Adding- Those that directly add value to the product

Eg, Coating, Packing, Filling

  1. Non-Value Adding- Those that do not add value to the product. These again may be of two types
  • Essential NVA- Those that can’t be ignored although the process doesn’t add value to the product. Eg, Quality control and Quality Assurance checks.
  • Non-Essential NVA- Those activities that do not add any value to the product and should be minimized or eliminated. Eg, Time spend in Unnecessary movement, Time spend in searching the inventories etc.


A production or a business pathway that adds maximum value to the customer’s requirement.

When selecting stream it should be able to represent 60-80% of the value.

What is a perfect process?

  • A perfect process is the one which is completely-
  • Valuable
  • Available
  • Capable

Advantages of Value Stream Mapping (VSM)

  • Comprehends the manufacturing, service or business operation for easy understanding of all the bottlenecks and wastes.
  • Helps to identify what improvement or Kaizen activities (lean) activities are required for improvement of the process.

There are many websites that you can learn practicing VSM in Industrial and service business. One recource on how to draw Value Stream Mapping (VSM) using different free software tools, stages of VSM, and >40 case studies on its use could be as it provides many free resources on it.

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