Producing Value stream maps takes a combination of time, patience and know-how. Thinking of this as an investment into your business – its vital that organization utilize the results and that the VSM is leveraged to make a difference on the shopfloor.

So what comes after the value stream map? For most organizations an improvement plan – Value stream Maps are great at helping to highlight waste in a company and after mapping the value stream, improvement guru’s should focus on reducing waste and aiming for a continuous flow process.

Developing continuous flow will require the integration of all elements of the production system once implemented it can have a dramatic effect on performance by helping minimize lead time and help target waste through reducing inventory requirements (smaller batches pulling material as required).

But what are the elements of continuous flow? Through using the principles of batches and work queues the organization can strive for small batches of product produced in a continuous flow and minimal waste. Common concepts of continuous flow include:

• Products made meet customer need
• The Manufacturing process is integrated into design
• Manufacturing requirements are identified lean and developed
• Appropriate information management systems inplace
• Continuous improvement plans inplace

Continuous flow manufacturing is the essential next step after value stream mapping, optimizing the organization should be the next step streamlining production, and delivery will help deliver the benefits identified through value stream mapping.

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