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Author: Mike Titchen

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a common tool used by Lean Practitioners to identify waste within a value stream. It is usually carried out in two stages:

Current state - the 'as is' map of the process

Future state - the vision for the future including all the Lean Improvements

A value stream map contains all flows of information and materials utilised within an enterprise from raw material right through to the customer. It typically contains:

Information management e.g. Order processing, purchasing etc

Physical transformation e.g. Materials, logistics and production

Intellectual property e.g. Improvement ideas, designs, project management etc

Whenever there is a product, service or process for a customer there is a value stream in operation and lean practitioners can work on it to take out waste and improve effectiveness and efficiency.

What's not commonly understood however, is that Value Stream Mapping, if carried out at a high level (typically at a business unit or for a product group), can prove to be a valuable tool to identify Lean Six Sigma projects. It is particularly useful because it helps provide Lean Six Sigma projects which are:

Strategically Aligned

Focussed on the key blockages (Theory of Constraints)

Grouped into Powerful Clusters

With a good balance between Lean and Six Sigma events

The event is usually facilitated by a Six Sigma Master Black Belt or experienced Six Sigma Black Belt and involves a mixture of line management, technical and process level participation. With good preparation it can usually be carried out in three or four days and provides a project blue print which can keep a local Lean Six Sigma Deployment going for six months or more.

The high level process is shown below where it can be seen that the process begins with a review of high level business strategy. It then involves the executive team identifying and prioritising the value or revenue streams within the organisation. This is done by looking at volumes, revenues and profit information together with market and strategic inputs.

This activity is followed by the actual value stream mapping event (current state and future state), the output of which is a detailed list of projects and events.

About SigmaProSigmaPro was set up in December 2000 in the USA as a management consulting firm specialising in the integration of Six Sigma, Design for Six Sigma, and Lean Improvement to optimise Shareholder Value. SigmaPro was founded by Dr. Douglas Mader, one of the leading visionaries and technologists in the Six Sigma field and personally involved in the development of Six Sigma at Motorola during the 1980's. Dr Mader later worked for SSRI, and as a lead consultant for the American Society for Quality helped establish the way Six Sigma is practiced today throughout the world.

Since then, SigmaPro has grown to become a truly global player with offices in many parts of the world. Our collaborative approach allows us to share valuable insights and experiences across the SigmaPro network, whilst the independence of each area ensures localised products and services can be provided to our clients. This combination ensures references unmatched by our competitors.

SigmaPro's fundamental business objective is to help organisations maximize shareholder value through the successful deployment of Six Sigma, Design for Six Sigma (DfSS) and the Lean approach. We have created a comprehensive portfolio of products and services, designed to enable rapid deployment of organisation-wide improvement efforts that generate a return on investment for your organisation.

We understand that improvement comes from the people involved in the process, and our approach to training and consulting enables you to create sustainable improvements, rather than us " fixing it for you ".

We are 100% committed to providing you with the support, tools and methods necessary to stay ahead of the competition and maximise the effectiveness of your operations. Quite simply, we put your needs first

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About the Author

Mike is a highly experienced MBB and has worked in both manufacturing and financial services industries. Mike gives Six Sigma Consultingincluding :- Six Sigma Yellow Belt and Six Sigma Green Belt with SigmaPro UK


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