Implementation Planning with Value Stream Mapping

The third step in the Blackerby Associates transformation methodology is the improvement plan. The basic tool in developing a transformation improvement plan is Value Stream Mapping.


A value stream mapping process is accomplished in six basic steps:




1. Identify the value streams. Printers should identify the classes of work that involve substanially the same processes. Matrix recent jobs against the processes performed, and group products together that share the same processes. These groupings are the value streams.




For each process in the value stream, count:




Cycle time: The amount of time required to execute the process on one product item (or common unit of product).




Changeover time, or set-up time: If the process requires kitting, preparation or equipment, measure the time from the last good product of the previous run to the first good product of the next run.




First pass yield: Measure the percentage of products that emerge from the process meeting quality standards.



Reliability: Measure the percentage of working time that equipment is ready and available for executing the process. The equipment is not ready and available when it is undergoing preventative maintenance or unscheduled down time, or an operator is not available to run it.



2. Map the current state. Pick the value stream with the highest gross revenues first, but map all the value streams. Using the value stream mapping techniques, map the current state showing how it actually works. Do not map how it is supposed to work, or how you want it to work; map how it actually works.




3. Measure the value stream. Take a measurement snapshot of the entire value stream. You need five measurements:


Inventory: For each inventory point, count the inventory for each product at a set point in time. Typically, count the inventory point that precedes each process.





4. Identify improvement opportunities. Systematically go through the current state value stream map to identify opportunities to set up inventory supermarkets, replenishment signals, manufacturing cells, one-piece or reduced-batch flows, etc.




5. Map the future state. Use the value stream mapping techniques to map the future state, showing how the value stream will operate after 6-9 months of continuous improvement, implementing the improvement opportunities identified in the previous step.




6. Plan implementation. Prioritize and sequence the improvement projects that will move the organization from the current state to the future state. For each project: identify a target measure of improvement (for example, "Reduce set-up time from 30 minutes to 10 minutes"); identify a champion responsible for the implementation; set a start date and an end date; identify any additional resources (people, supplies, etc.) needed, and allocate those resources. Put all the improvement projects onto a single Gantt chart. Execute the implementation plan.




Value Stream Mapping for Administrative Functions


Here are some tips for developing value stream maps for administrative functions:



  • Start with something meaningful: find a business issue creating a gap in your market, and focus on improving the value stream(s) responsible for the gap.
  • Make sure you have management commitment for the potential change and area of focus.
  • Get people involved who represent functions impacting the process at hand and who have responsibility to redesign the process.
  • Treat the process boxes the same way as in regular value stream mapping: each box represents an area of flow (that is, work done prior to the handoff).
  • Start each process box with a verb (for example, "create contract") as opposed to a function (such as, "sales") to follow the work, not the function.




  • Treat the inbox as inventory (substitute "backlog").
  • Understand the customer requirements for the output of the value stream, including who the customer really is (not your boss!).
  • Find data attributes to measure the performance of the process boxes that represent the cost, service, and quality of the work performed in the box.
  • Walk the flow with the team if at all possible: find out how the work progresses and visualize it.




  • Add notes to the map to document things you "see."
  • Think through the future state using questions similar to the manufacturing map: what do you need to do to meet customer requirements in an effective and efficient way, and how can you use lean thoughts/tools/techniques to help attain the future state?
  • Develop detailed implementation plans with the team.
  • Measure implementation progress frequently.




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Updated January, 2021