Using Value Stream Mapping as a Continuous Improvement Tool

Value stream mapping is a visual means to depict and improve the flow of manufacturing and production process, as well as the information that controls the flow of materials through the process.

It is the preferred methodology for identifying the inherent waste and losses within an operation.

As a management tool, value stream mapping (VSM) is used to:

  • Graphically illustrate, analyze and understand the flow of materials and the information needed to process them. Unlike process maps that are limited to mapping the sequence of tasks that are performed to complete a procedure or process, value-stream mapping provides the means to:

  • Display the interaction between multiple functions within the manufacturing process as well as ancillary functions such as production planning, scheduling, and materials management, etc.

  • The flow of information (communications) and materials throughout the complete manufacturing or production process. Coordination and in-process materi