Value Stream Mapping is one part of the continuous improvement technique called Lean. Identifying the different parts of the value stream is usually one of the first steps in the Lean process. The value stream map can help your organization get a broader sense of your business and how it works, and it helps managers make improvements to the business process with clarity and efficiency. There are many benefits to Value Stream Mapping, and once the mapping process has started, it can continue to benefit the business for many years through repetitive use.

Gives you a great overall picture of the process

When you start mapping the different parts of your business through the value stream, you will find that this process in itself is beneficial to your understanding of the business. Sometimes just mapping the value stream can give you insight into problems or bottlenecks within your structure that may not have been so obvious before. It is important to look at the value stream as a storyboard, telling the story of how your product or service makes its way into your customer's hands. Having a visual representation of the business story allows you to see which parts are absolutely necessary, and which parts are more flexible or movable. Value Stream Mapping provides a great form of visual communication among everyone involved.

Value Stream Mapping helps identify waste

One of the greatest benefits of value stream mapping is that you can easily identify where the waste is in your business process. Anything that does not add value to the end-customer is waste. The value stream map can help you identify the most common types of waste, also known as the seven deadly wastes. These are Overproduction, Waiting, Transport, Extra processing, Inventory, Motion and Defects. None of these add value to the end-customer, and the value stream map helps you see these types of waste clearly.

Makes it easy to make improvements to your business

Value Stream Mapping makes it easy to visually identify where the waste is and how you can deal with it or improve it. Once you have a visual representation of the weak points of the process, you can use the value stream map to create a common ground for communication among your team and stakeholders. The value stream map allows for calculated experimentation in certain parts of the process, without endangering the flow of the rest of the business. You can use the value stream map to plan an improvement event, or Kaizen event, and test improvement theories with confidence and ease.