Imagine you must travel for your job role from the United States to introduce a new product line to several customers located throughout Western Europe. In each location, you must provide a tailored presentation that reflects how the new products will enhance your customers’ various operations—all while meeting your budget.
Your travel agent provides an itinerary of your trip, but that basic guide cannot account for all the preparations you must make. You need a detailed plan to ensure you travel with the appropriate documents, clothing, and equipment and then produce the correct materials at the correct time and location to make the best impression on your customers and fulfill your boss’s expectations.
Similarly, most business activities require a framework that analyzes specific problems or opportunities to help achieve their goals. A value stream map provides a simple, useful process for examining current operations and identifying areas for change and growth to achieve greater value creation for your business.
Value stream maps have four critical parts:
- The process flow
- The flow of materials
- The flow of information
- Data collection
As with any journey, you must prepare before creating a beneficial value stream map. A five-step process helps you identify customer requirements, the map’s scope, stakeholders, and team member responsibilities for the map’s creation.
Then you must determine the sequence of activities to follow, including the process, materials, and information flow. The process flow helps you choose your route; the materials flow helps you gauge roadblocks; and the information flow tells you when and how facts become accessible along the journey. Finally, you must collect data that helps you reach your ultimate destination by answering how many, how much, or how often.
Once you complete your trip, you can then analyze what went well and what did not to determine areas for additional efficiencies. For example, you must recognize the seven sources of process waste to remove redundancies and other wastes and continuously adjust your value stream map to maintain its efficacy.
Do you have the tools needed to improve quality and reduce costs for your business while meeting your customers’ needs? The Accenture Academy course Driving Value with Value Stream Maps provides the framework for you to explore your current value stream, determine how to identify improvement opportunities, and discover how to design a better future state.