Value Stream Mapping

Almost everyone has heard about Value Stream Mapping, and many have already perhaps tried it as a technique to identify the core activity required to execute a process, and of course also identify all that activity which is not essential in this endeavour, by definition named ‘non value added’.

The ‘not-so-secret’ secret to a meaningful VSM exercise, assuming that your methodology is sufficiently robust – and this is not always the case – is involvement of those executing the process, and those responsible for managing the process. Too many exercises are conducted by outsiders in isolation (say, an IT team, or in the case of a SMED exercise, a CI team), or suffer from being insufficiently robust, or occasionally, both of these failings.

Our approach is to train internal resources in the correct, robust methodology we recommend, and help guide and control the pace so that outputs are meaningful, understood and the learnings are able to be implemented by the stakeholders in each respective process.


What VSM methodology do you employ?

We are happy to share our methodology with our clients, and coach client staff in it’s implementation. It is based upon the premise of examination of the process in detail, differentiating between activity required by the customer, that required for legislative or continuity, and all that which is neither.

Part of our skill is to know to what level of detail it is necessary to examine, and to provide objective evaluation of work content, pace, movement, resource application and so on.

How does a SMED exercise differ?

Whilst the principles are essentially the same, in looking to identify and eliminate non value added activity, the overall objective is slightly different in that in SMED we are seeking to shorten the duration of the process, and thus we are looking also to identify where activities may be conducted in parallel.

Additionally, it should be noted that any changeover itself is by definition ‘non value added’ and activities associated with this would be depicted as such in a VSM exercise! We would ideally eliminate the need for a changeover altogether, or if unavoidable, try to reduce the time taken to zero (or at least the ‘single minute’ advocated in the acronym title of SMED). This latter objective may be achieved through a number of means – a topical reason to give us a call perhaps!

Is your methodology useful for the preparatory work required for an IT installation, like SAP, Sage, Preactor and so on?


Given the detailed mapping exercise that is required in order to ensure successful implementation of an IT system, be that an ERP, or other system, it makes absolute sense to combine with a VSM exercise.

This is especially pertinent to consider when evaluating whether to implement a ‘vanilla’ IT solution, or whether there will be some (or a great deal) of adaptation of the standard package to fit the business processes and needs.

A VSM exercise may help to pave the way for making the right decisions, and provide the necessary input data that such systems invariably demand.

What technology do you use?

We use standard Microsoft software (Visio, Excel etc) according to what our client’s staff are comfortable and versed in using (for expediency) as the basis for data collection and presentation.

We have additionally developed an automated MS Excel based SMED programme that we provide clients for free when undertaking such exercises.

For a demonstration, call us today.

Contact us for more information today on +44 (0) 20 3877 0618