Value stream mapping (VSM) is a necessary – and extremely valuable – tool in Lean process
design, allowing you to ensure that every process is efficient and has value.
In this article, we explore what VSM is, its benefits (including waste elimination), and how
to perform it within your own manufacturing business.
What is value stream mapping?
A part of Lean process design, value stream mapping is essentially a visual tool to help you
understand, analyse, and communicate the flow of materials and information needed to
move a product from order to delivery. It aims to clearly show how work is currently being
carried out, providing a robust groundwork on which to create more streamlined, efficient
Picture a typical day in your organisation, with your team working in a complex system of
processes, which might seem incomprehensible or inefficient. VSM will meticulously map
out each step of these activities, revealing those that are ‘value-add’ or ‘non-value-add’.
As well as process mapping, VSM is about understanding and visually representing the flow
of a product or service, so that every step adds value and doesn’t become a source of waste.
Benefits of VSM in Lean
By analysing every process, VSM allows you to:
Identify and remove processes that create waste or are redundant.
Improve customer satisfaction by ensuring that all steps provide value.
Build a foundation for Continuous Improvement and iterative development.
Give team leaders the knowledge and skills needed to drive Lean transformations and waste elimination initiatives.
Enable your team to work towards a singular, streamlined objective: deliver with maximum efficiency and minimal waste.
Practical guide to performing VSM
Our guide will help make your journey from process mapping to waste elimination
seamless. Your organisation will be able to build a simplified process that revolves around
efficiency and creating value.
1. Assemble a varied team
Put together a group with different perspectives and invest in leadership development.
This will ensure a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the process, and that your
leaders are skilled in VSM principles and can guide effectively.
2. Map the current state
Document every step of your existing process, from order receipt to delivery, and highlight
any steps that don’t add value to the end product or service.
3. Design the future state
Visualise an optimised, streamlined process that eliminates waste and maximises value at
every stage. Engage with all stakeholders, incorporating their insights and expertise into
4. Develop a strategy
Construct an action plan that outlines the journey from current to future state, detailing
responsibilities, timelines, and resources. Make sure that every team member understands
their role and can drive change.
5. Implement and review the plan
Follow your strategy, guaranteeing constant communication throughout. Then perform
regular reviews to check that new processes are producing the desired results, adjusting as
necessary for Continuous Improvement.
Introduce value stream mapping with Manufacturers Network
Executing value stream mapping is a step towards organisational efficiency, customer
satisfaction, and Continuous Improvement. With its emphasis on waste elimination and
value at every step, VSM is an indispensable tool in Lean process design. As a result, your
team, especially team leaders, can constantly evolve, adapt, and drive forward with a focus on
To learn more about value stream mapping or sign up for one of our courses, please contact
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