The simplest approach is usually the best. Unfortunately, most of us operate in world run by policies and processes that, over time, have become anything but simple. Luckily, there’s a way to untangle the mess.
Value stream mapping is a time-tested approach to streamlining a process, whether it’s credentialing a physician, onboarding new staff member, or just speeding up your morning routine. When applied correctly, value stream mapping can help you reduce time, save money, and make your life easier.
Here’s a quick outline of how to create a value stream map for a specific process.
- Walk the flow — Go to where the process is happening. If the process moves among three departments, walk to those departments in the order the process takes. You will likely see steps—and waste—that aren’t apparent in reports or maps.
- Indicate the time for each step — Note how long it takes to complete the task.
- Indicate time between each step — It’s also important to determine the amount of downtime between steps.
- Indicate value time for each step — Ask yourself, of the time spent doing the task, how much actually adds value to you or your customers?
- Total all times — Add up the number of steps and the time it takes to complete them all.
- Calculate Takt time and cycle time — Determine the time it takes to meet customer demand and how long each step should take to minimizing downtime.
- Create an “ideal state” map — Draw a future-state map as it would look if you eliminated or changed all waste and unnecessary steps.
- Eliminate obvious waste — Get rid of steps you don’t need (see Seven Types of Waste below).
- Select improvement ideas — Choose steps of the workflow that could be more efficient. Prioritize the actionable items based on immediate need and available resources.
- Make your work flow — Create a process that allows your task to be performed as quickly as possible without compromising quality.
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Your value stream map doesn't need to be pretty[/caption]
Helpful Hints for Creating a Value Stream Map
Collect the information yourself — don’t rely on second-hand reports or maps. The best way to learn about the complete process is to observe it first-hand.
It’s also a good idea to map with pencil and paper. This will allow you to make quick and easy changes to the map. Remember, it’s not about the map or the way it looks, it’s about seeing and knowing the facts.
Seven Types of Waste
As you create your map, keep an eye out for common types of waste that can be eliminated.
- Transportation/Handling (movement of paperwork, “forward/reply to all”)
- Inventory (literature, office supplies, unread email)
- Motion (walking to printer, looking for missing information)
- Waiting (approvals, clarification, information)
- Overproduction (printing forms that may change before use)
- Over-processing (duplicating data, unused reports, relying on inspections instead of process)
- Defects (data entry or invoicing errors)
Creating Your Own Map
Looking for more tips on creating a value stream map? Download this quick starter guide