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May 31, 2010

Value Stream Mapping

With many books and resources on the subject, some expounding complex symbols and definitions, Value Stream Mapping can seem difficult and offputting. In fact it is straightforward and the best way to get started is with simple “Post It” (TM) notes. There are some good “how-to” videos on YouTube. Here are my favourites:


As for the data you should collect. Try this for a starter set (the bold items being the critical ones):


  • Total time from customer order to receiving an order (customer lead time);
  • Total time it takes an item (on average with standard deviation) to move through the process (manufacturing lead time);
  • Total estimated actual processing (touch) time for the item in the process (on average with standard deviation);
  • Number of items processed per day (with standard deviation)
  • Total available time per work day
  • Number of people in process
  • Regular planned downtime, meetings etc
  • Frequency at which work arrives into the process(pattern of arrivals)
  • Cycle time for each activity (average time to perform the activity, with standard deviation if possible)
  • Quality level (% right first time) and quality issues at each activity step
  • Average time (with standard deviation) waiting in queue to be processed at each step.
  • Distance travelled for jobs (walk time)
  • Information/ paperwork required and completed
  • Delivery schedules
  • Inventory levels
  • Equipment used; resource constraints

Happy mapping !