Knowledge base

Value Stream Mapping / Value Stream analysis

Understanding Value Stream Mapping: A Practical Guide

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) as the basis of Lean serves as a robust method of visually representing and studying the movements of goods and information along any process. In this text, we will explain the core concepts of these mapping in a human language, articulating our thoughts on why it is important and how can it be implemented.

What is Value Stream Mapping?

VSM, also known as Value Stream Analysis, is a tool used to create a clear picture of activities that provide value to consumers, as well as those that do not – so-called wastes. At its heart, the purpose of the VSM is to reform processes in accordance with customer requirements, desires, and hopes; moreover, to uncover and delete processes that do not add value.

Key Elements of Value Stream Mapping

A VSM incorporates four primary areas: Customer, Process, Supplier, and Communication Process. Each area acts as a central point for identifying relevant data and details for assessing the value-stream and waste flow.

Step-by-Step Guide to Value Stream Mapping:


1-Determine the Product and Voice of the Customer:

First, you should choose the product or product family which you will analyze and understand what your customer expects.

2-Draw the VSM:

Draw the current process flow, starting from the customer’s end and continuing toward the supplier.

3-Fill the Data Boxes:

You should include several boxes with associated information for each process step, including essential metrics such as cycle and waiting time and right-first-time percentage.

4-Add Material Streams:

Additionally, metrics about material flow between process steps such as material, quantity, and delivery frequency should be included.

5-Add Information Streams:

Include a visual presentation of how information flows across the value stream and reach the stakeholders when needed.

6-Calculate the Total Process Steps:

Calculate and analyze the total process time when all process steps have been completed.

7-Draw the Timeline Ladder:

Finally, create a timeline of the upcoming production.

Versions of VSM:

The two main versions of VSM include:

  • Current State VSM – focuses on the current processes involved in the value chain.
  • Future State VSM – focused ideal state where developers must get to.


In summation, value stream mapping is an organization’s tool of a compass in achieving operational excellence and continuous improvement affiliation. It streamlines organizations’ operations and helps identify places that firms can cut waste, thus enhancing competitive advantage.

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