Whilst Value Stream Mapping is primarily a method of mapping information and material flows – the process is intrinsically linked with business improvement projects and ultimately reducing business costs –as eloquently put in the talkback posts at Gotboondoggle’s post on value in Value stream mapping it could be argued that one of value stream mapping’s primary goals is to deliver profit.

Traditionally VSM “mappers” are focused on capturing areas of waste and excess leadtime but rarely with the primary objective of reducing cost. Take for example one of the common value stream mapping concepts in capturing the inventory waiting at each step of the process – one of the key aspects of VSM is capturing data associated with the process – how about capturing the cost of inventory or product at that process. Another example – capturing takt time – perhaps you can capture the overhead cost and manpower charges – get thinking in that way and you could not only get a visible map of your processes but develop a detailed activity based costing.
So what are the benefits of this approach when constructing your value stream?

Firstly it provides the mapping team a method of capturing where bottlenecks are attracting cost and therefore which improvement will offer the biggest “bang for buck”

Secondly – it provides a method of capturing a definitive cost for the process and when developing your future state value stream map you’ll be able to articulate the cost savings and business justification accurately

Overall the overhead when working this way is not overtly intensive – include a finance colleague on the mapping team – capture a little more data than usual and voila – a costed value stream map. While this method may not be for everyone it offers an interesting extension of a proven technique.

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