Value Stream Mapping Your Business

Last week we talked about the value of being organized.

This week, let’s look at “Lean” thinking and Value Stream Mapping your work flow.

I was fortunate enough to work with some very nice people from GE, who came to teach us about Value Stream Mapping and creating a lean culture.

What is Value Stream Mapping?

It is a management strategy that improves processes.

  • You use less to do more
  • Each step in your work flow is analyzed to see if it adds value or takes it away
  • When rigorously applied throughout a business, lean principles have a dramatic affect on productivity, cost, and quality.

How do I make my business lean?

By eliminating wastes.

  • Simplify: Make the process as simple as possible.
  • Standardize work examples: Do your process the same, efficient way every time.
  • Eliminate re-do’s: With a standardized way of working, mistakes are less frequent.
  • Realize work flow upstream and downstream of the process: Evaluate the entire work stream to make sure each action compliments the one taken before and after it. 
  • Find out where time lapses:  Change the flow to eliminate lapses.

It is fascinating to dig deeply into your business and look at each, individual action you take.  Write it down.  Make a big map.  By honestly looking at each step you take, it becomes clear what actions need to be taken to improve your processes and start eliminating waste.

What kind of waste?

  • Do you keep your customers waiting?
  • Do you overstock supplies?
  • Do you miss due dates, duplicate actions or make errors?
  • Do you have a standardized way to work?
  • Do you have an efficient way to ship or deliver your product?
  • Do you have control of your inventory?
  • Do you know where everything is located?

Set aside about 2 days to really dig in and get a grasp of the changes you need to make.  You will find it’s a good return on your investment, with increased productivity,  managed costs and less stress.

Happy mapping,



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