With the Olympics ending just a short time ago there has been a lot of talk about Michael Phelps and his absolutely stunning performance at the Olympics. What a great swimmer Mr. Phelps is. One of the toughest challenges of being amongst the elite in sports like track, swimming and many other racing sports is just staying in your lane. But those lanes are put there to help guide athletes and allow them to perform at their very best.
As you can tell on the left hand side are the departments or process owners of the steps in their swimlanes. We then see from left to right each of the process steps laid out in the appropriate order. There are a few differences between a "process map" and a value stream map that you will want to be sure to include but in general you will follow a SIPOC format showing suppliers, inputs, process steps, outputs and customers.
Differences in process map and VSM
1. The first key difference that you will see is in the connecting lines. These lines are meant to show the information flow that you would capture in a vsm. In our example a simple textbox is added to the connectors in order to identify the information that travels along the connector.
2. Next we notice that the shapes are not the typical format of a process map. The main reason for this is because we want to include the appropriate metrics for our project. Metrics can be time based, money based or anything else that might align with the objective you are trying to achieve. Along with metrics we need to show inputs of the process and outputs of the process, those can be identified in a traditional manner breaking your sipoc into columns or showing the inputs and outputs of each process step like our example shows above.
3. It is necessary for us to identify va, nva and bva when constructing a value stream map. There are multiple ways of doing this, but our example shows red, green and orange dots to signify va, nva and bva.
Adding these three elements will help you collect metrics that you need to focus on and tell us what is va, nva and bva while still connecting the information flow of the value stream.
What to look for?
In process mapping we look for many different things such as rework loops, crossover in lanes and points that may not be needed. When we look at a value stream map using metrics and swimlanes we look for similar elements such as crossover, repetition, large gaps in metrics or excessive issues, non value and business value and any steps that may be stacked could identify a trouble area in the process. One other thing that we commonly look for is inputs that produce no output. There can on occasion be circumstances where this may happen but generally if something is going into a step something should come out too or it may fall into the category of wasteful activities.
Steps to build
1. Identify the starting point and stopping point of the your map.
2. Identify process owners, departments or individuals.
3. Establish appropriate metrics that are aligned with objectives. Examples might be if you want to reduce time collecting time based metrics.
4. Begin mapping the value stream including inputs and outputs. *Note - Suppliers and customers are identified by looking upstream or downstream.
5. Connect value stream steps with information flow.
6. Identify va, nva and bva.
7. Analyze looking for improvement opportunities
8. Create future state.
Though this type of SIPOC format may seem a bit foreign it actually is quite effective in mapping processes that are cross functional such as an order to cash request or any other process that maps the activities of multiple departments. Though the map itself may not win you gold medals in the Olympics it will certainly identify who's swimming in what lane and where resistance may be occurring.
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