First Steps to Lean Manufacturing: Value Stream Mapping

posted on: Sunday September 11, 2016

Lean manufacturing targets opportunities to improve output while limiting any unnecessary action or xtra_main_2ctask. It allows you to optimize your process and rid your workflow of extra time, resources, or anything else that costs money and/or doesn’t add value. In order to develop a truly lean system that works for you, first you need to get a true picture of your process. You need to really see what the workflow looks like so you can easily identify excess. One of the most effective ways to do that is through a Value Stream Map (VSM).

A VSM represents the flow of materials and information through your entire organization as it moves from the supplier to your customer. It makes it easy to identify restraints, excess inventory, and delays in your process. The document is fluid; as you make changes, you make updates. In the end, you can clearly see that you’ve achieved your ideal value stream.

Creating a VSM involves the participation of the people who are involved in the actual process. This gives you a true-to-life picture of what is happening. Someone who has experience with VSMs should take the lead. It’s wise to create this by hand with a pencil unless you have software specific to this purpose. Your team should create the map together so that all relevant pieces are represented and understood.

You will create a map for each individual product or workflow. The steps to creating your map are:

• Choose the product or workflow
• Select or create the VSM symbols
• Define the boundaries of the process
• Define each step of the process
• Incorporate the flow of information
• Gather your process data
• Determine your timeline
• Decide whether one map can represent multiple suppliers
• Interpret your data
• Create your ideal and future VSM

For a step-by-step guide to creating your VSM through these steps, visit here.

With your map completed, manufacturers will surely see a lot of unnecessary wait time as well as overuse of your forklifts and wasted use of manpower. These are three of the most common and obvious problems in the industry because forklifts are pretty inefficient for most of the jobs we use them for.

If this is the case for you, a power tug will optimize your value stream exceptionally well. It limits unnecessary manpower, waiting, and movement. It optimizes the amount you can haul in one load and can help workers conveniently flow product from one station to the next. Battery powered tugs are popular and resourceful tools in lean manufacturing. To learn exactly how it will help you create your ideal VSM, connect with Load Mover today. When we understand your process, we can identify how it will benefit you at the best ROI. Call 952-767-1720 or email