In previous blogs, we’ve discussed a variety of topics, from the benefits of lean manufacturing to the various tools that can create efficiencies and drive lean processes. Now we're going to discuss value stream mapping (VSM) as a first step toward ERP workflow and the positive impact it can have on your lean business processes.
What is Value Stream Mapping?
VSM is a lean-management method that analyzes the “current state” of a mission critical business process, such as order fulfillment or purchasing. The map is a pictorial exercise to facilitate ways of improving processes by segregating the activities that add value from those that do not (aka “waste"). VSM captures your current processes and then allows for a vision of a “future state.” The future state is invariably characterized by fewer steps, shorter times, less duplication, and better information.
How can the right technology support your value stream mapping process?
A VSM is generally “down and dirty” – a post it note, a white board drawing, or perhaps a Visio flowchart. More important than the format is the result of the exercise: a clearly understood future state, developed by the process owners, that achieves efficiency. If a VSM exercise is successful, consensus is built.
With newer ERP workflow solutions, a VSM process can be deployed in software. This will allow your organization to track critical business activities, upload relevant documents, monitor process stages and generate dashboard reports on KPIs. Effective use of workflow ensures forward momentum is maintained and VSM processes are successfully deployed. Examples of ERP-based workflow we see every day with our clients are sales pipelines, support requests, and customer service issues. Effective workflow tells the story in all areas along with the vital Ws: who, what, when, where, why.
Lastly, VSM supported by workflow will create efficiencies, common understanding and the sharing of results; those results will then become the baseline for the next improvement effort. Your VSM based workflow solution will eventually begin to function as a repository of knowledge that will provide your organization vital information. This will help you make informed business decisions.
Are you working hard to capture improvement opportunities and avoid waste? If so, your business would benefit from implementing VSM and ERP workflow. The experts at Acuity would love to discuss your options and help you choose the best solution for your business! Contact us today for more information.