Value Stream Mapping: Step 3 Mapping the Future

Mapping your future process is a promise of improvement.

It will bring higher productivity with more efficiency.

We are now ready to get rid of the steps that waste time, cause errors and cost money.

Here is where we have to put on our thinking caps and think outside the box!

Once again, here is the process we now use.   I am striking the processes we need to get rid of and mapping the Future in bold italics.

Bring items into house:  +

Unpack them upstairs:  We work on the items and store them downstairs, so there is no need to unpack them upstairs.  (Extra Processing)

Bring them downstairs:  Double handling.  (Motion)

Put them in a flat:   There is no specific place for “processing” items, so we place them in cardboard flats that can be moved around.  (Extra Processing)

Find a place for the flat:  Any flat surface that’s available:  Trying to find a spot.  (Waiting)   Having to move flats repeatedly, because they were set in the way of something else.  (Motion) 

Unpack items onto a processing table or shelf.  +  

Process each item separately at this stage. +

Look for damage.  +

Take photo of item, including price tag.  +  (won’t forget the price)

Remove price tag.  +   Can’t always remember what the price was when it is time to list the item.   (Defect)

Wash item: +

Look for damage:  +

Take photos.  +  Less than optimum photos: Poor lighting, wrong type of background, surface not large enough.  (Defect)   Photo spot has been updated with better placement of lighting, better background, and larger surface area.

Put items back in flat:  Another chance to damage something.  (Motion)(Defect)

Place item in flat.  +

Move the flat to the office.  +  We can both work on listing items, but items have to be moved to another room.  (Motion)(Extra Processing)  This is an extra step, but one we decided to keep.  We can both work on listing items in the comfort of the office, plus getting an extra computer for the warehouse, or moving an existing one was not an option.

Place the flat on the floor:  Lots of carrying and bending.  (Motion)  Flats could get kicked or bumped.  (Defect)

Place flat on a table, in the office.  +

List items on eBay:   +  We use an offline bulk loader, so we can get many items ready at once and upload them to eBay when we want them to go on. 

Place items on warehouse shelves (where ever they fit).  This creates a mess and we spend lots of time looking for items when they sell.  This also affects our shipping process.  (Waiting)(Motion)  Place items in sections of shelving.  (i.e. metals, glasses, kitchenware, etc.)  It speeds up finding the item when it sells.  (This step is also adds value as it flows downstream to another process, which is shipping.)   Another added value, is that it allows for a quick visual review of what items are not selling quickly.

So here is what our future process will look like:   Bring items directly downstairs, unpack them onto a processing table, check for damage, take a photo of item with the price tag, remove the price tag, wash the item, take photos, put the item in a flat, (when the flat is full) move the flat to a table in the office, list items on eBay, place items in appropriate sections on shelving in the warehouse.  

For an overview of the entire process, read this:

Value Stream Mapping:  A How-To For Everyone

Did you miss the first two steps?

Value Stream Mapping:  Step 1  Mapping the Now

Value Stream Mapping:  Step 2  Finding Wastes

Next week, we will do the final step of straightening up!


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