Why is value stream mapping important for business processes?
Let’s take a moment to emphasize what distinguishes a value stream map from other analytical techniques. The primary goal is to identify how each point in a process adds value to the final outcome. You’re mapping the flow of value itself.
As a result, the value stream map also highlights nodes in your process that don’t add value (or don’t add enough value).
This highlights problematic steps in your process and shows you exactly where you can make the most obvious and dramatic improvements to the business as a whole.
Doing this comes with some major benefits. Let’s start with efficiency.
The current state map should be able to help you find inefficiencies in your current process.
Once you identify those inefficiencies, you can take measures to improve on them, and you can even project how those changes will perform with your future state map.
State maps, like any effective analytical tool, are there to highlight problem areas (also known as areas of opportunity). That’s the gist of it, and it’s how they will help you improve efficiency.
Typically, a more efficient process is more cost-effective as well. So, by improving process efficiency, your state map is helping your cost efficiency as well.
But, there’s more to state maps than just efficiency.
Your map can help you find areas of loss. If points of the process introduce time delays, you could be losing money on labor, utilities, or other time-sensitive costs.
If you’re suffering material loss from part of your process, that should also show up on the state map.
If nothing else, the state map is highlighting your basic input and output for the business process. By doing that, you can see what your return on cost is in very clear terms of the process, and that can help you find places to cut costs or productivity losses.
In all of these ways, the state map can save you money and improve your return on investment for the entire business process.
The value stream map highlights all of the major steps along the production and/or delivery process. It shows you the starting input, the final output, and every step along the way.
If you want higher quality in your outputs, then the map shows you exactly where you can implement changes to achieve that goal.
While the map is helping you improve efficiency and your returns on investments, it can also show you spots that might be hindering quality. You can target those specific parts of the process, and your quality will improve as a result.
Increased customer satisfaction
As for customer satisfaction, it’s not terribly difficult to understand. If there are bottlenecks or hiccups in your process, then those issues can delay delivery times, lower quality, or otherwise hurt customer satisfaction.
It’s pretty easy to identify pain points for customers. Your value map can help you attack those pain points by preventing them in the first place. You’re empowered to solve problems at the source.
It’s the most efficient and effective way to mitigate customer pain points, and as a result, you can expect a consistent increase in overall customer satisfaction.
After all, who doesn’t want better products at a more affordable price that are consistently delivered on time?
If you are improving efficiency, value, quality, and customer satisfaction with your value stream map, doesn’t that sound like a whole list of competitive advantages?
There are two ways to look at this.
First, if you are utilizing all of the benefits of a value stream map and your competitors are not, you should be able to pull ahead. You’re getting a ton of improvement out of a relatively modest investment of time, money, and effort.
The other way to look at this is that your competitors might also be using value stream maps. If they’re making good maps, planning accordingly, and improving every facet of their general workflow, then that’s going to make them very competitive.
Can you afford not to keep up with competitor analysis?
Better overall business performance
That brings us to the inevitable conclusion. Value stream maps are adding tons of benefits to your business. How can that do anything other than improve overall business performance?
After all, this is a holistic visualization. You’re looking at the entire business process at a glance, and with that tool, you’re targeting specific parts of the process that merit improvement.
Any time you improve your business in such a way, the results are going to impact the organization’s overall outlook. That’s really the point of value stream mapping in the first place.
How to conduct value stream mapping
Now that you know what you stand to gain from the value stream mapping process, let’s talk about how the process actually works.