Product “Value Stream”​

Nowadays, the balance between supply and demand is indeed in a continual state of change — given all the latest methods and processes that are available. However, supply these days has been growing steadily faster than demand in a lot of industries.

With this in mind, more and more customers are increasingly becoming difficult to convince that your company provides the right value that they have been looking for quite some time now.

Don’t fret! Thankfully, there is an effective way of letting your customers know your product’s value — by visualizing and enhancing the value stream process that you are giving your customers.

What is a value stream?​

Value stream, or most commonly known as material and information flow, is a lean management tool that is used to help in visualizing the steps that are needed from product creation up until to delivering it to the end-customer. It easily maps the material and information flow that is required to coordinate the activities done by manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors. With the enhanced visual representation of this process, it facilitates the identification of the value-adding steps in the value stream mapping process and eliminates the non-value adding steps. 

Similar to other business process mapping procedures, having your product go through the value stream method greatly aids with understanding your business better, and at the same time, assist your business’ analysis and overall process improvement. As a result, more and more companies have changed their existing facility layouts and systems — from material handling, inventory control to purchasing and scheduling. In return, it immensely reduced a company’s total times of orders and current levels of work in process inventories which made the overall process more efficient.

What is the importance of a value stream?​

Having a value stream process applied in your business process is certainly the best decision that you will make. For one, it is a powerful method to utilize in looking for waste and the cause of that waste in any of your existing processes. It details each and every significant process step then evaluates if it is adding value or not — all from the customer’s perspective. This only means that it focuses and keeps its analysis targeted to what really matters, which in turn, allows your business to effectively compete in the market.

In addition, utilizing a value stream does not only provide you with good visualizations. Hence, it also serves as an effectual tool for communication, collaboration, and culture change. How? By utilizing this certain type of method, it helps decision-makers to clearly visualize the current state of the process and where the waste is taking place. Plus, it enables them to see certain problems like delays, excessive downtime, constraints, and inventory issues that are currently happening. With these things in a clear perspective, it will then be easy for businesses to see these things and can now precisely do actions that will help in improving it.

Moreover, a value stream process can not only eliminate waste — thus, it can also add value. It can add value by means of making a product or service better, or it can simply be lowering a product’s price. After all, value is what every customer cares and thinks about.

What are the steps needed to do a value stream?

Now that you have a clear understanding of value stream and its main importance and purpose, here are some of the steps that may help you to start making this process:

Naturally, you can start doing this process by indicating a start and end point as this will clearly show you where your internal process begins and ends. However, several companies and organizations prefer to map out the entire value chain immediately — meaning it gives you a better idea of the whole process that you want. However, doing this will not enable you to do much about any external processes.

With this being said, the best step that you should take — especially if this is your first time — is to begin your value stream with the delivery of materials from your direct suppliers and end it with the delivery to your customer. Make sure that you place your opted icon to represent your starting and ending points on the left and right of your map.

However, if your production processes are more complex, then you may opt to do a map for each of your value-adding processes in greater detail after you have completed your overall value stream map.

Now that you have finished doing your value stream map, the next step that you should do is to determine the processes involved in order to get from point A to point B. This way, you will be able to know your next actions that will add value to your overall process.

Indicating how your information flows in your value stream process is very important. This will help you to know how often orders are placed and how customers place their orders for delivery.

Additionally, the input and output process must have ample information on it. Where does it come from and how is it passed on? When you have these things into your arsenal, it then uses this information and provides a weekly and monthly schedule for each of your processes. Always make sure that you keep these things on record as you will need it moving forward.

After you have collected all the basic things that you need, it is now time for you to have an in-depth look at each of your processes. You can do this by having real data and your mapping team by means of completing these following points:

  • The inventory items for each process
  • The cycle time per unit
  • The transfer time
  • The number of people that are needed to perform each step successfully
  • The number of products that must be scrapped
  • The pack or pallet size that will be utilized
  • The overall batch size that each step will handle

Now that you have all the information, you can now start to add it to your value stream map. You can draw a table or data box under each of the processes. However, make sure that every single thing that you place there is verified by using the current inputs and outputs for each of those processes.

With all these things done, the last thing that should be done is to create the ideal value stream map for your business. When you are in the process of curating this, make sure that you and your team will work on mapping it out carefully that will eliminate all the wastes that you have spotted while analyzing all the information that you have gathered.

Having said all this, ensuring that your products and services go through a value stream process is one of the most essential things that you should consider for your business. Not only will your business easier to monitor and handle, hence, all your product creations will be tracked effectively and efficiently.
We at Tangent Solutions offer our expertise in handling and helping you out with your products’ value stream mapping. You are ensured that your product value stream mapping will be as flawless, effective, and efficient with every step.
Want to have and create your own value stream map for your products? Contact us here today to get started!