In the article on 29 January 2015, we discussed Value Stream Mapping as a particular approach to understanding the Value Stream that ensures customer value is created using a high level process mapping approach. The article was about the first phase of Value Stream Mapping, creating an existing map.

As a reminder, Value Stream Mapping is a lean approach to improving the Value Stream, and as such has 4 main stages:


  1. Select the product family to work on
  2. Map the current state
  3. Establish the future state
  4. Action plan the implementation of the future state

This article will cover how the current state map can be evaluated, or interrogated, to eliminate waste and create a future state map which is more efficient and effective.

There are 10 key questions to ask when interrogating the Value Stream!

  1. Is the operation designed around the value stream – traditionally operations have been designed around functional layouts, for example machining areas, assembly areas. This approach does not facilitate flow and pull.
  2. Can we produce to TAKT time – it is important that each part of the operation can produce at a rate that meets customer demand.
  3. Is there opportunity to improve quality- quality problems prevent flow and increase cost, they should be eliminated or reduced
  4. Does value flow – are the operations designed so that product can flow one piece at a time or are products produced and moved in batches
  5. How can we minimise inventory – inventory not only costs money it also prevents flow and increases throughput time.
  6. Do we need to reduce set up times – changeovers may be preventing flow and increasing batch sizes, they need to be reduced or eliminated wherever possible.
  7. Where do we need to introduce pull – product should flow through the system at the rate of customer demand, when flow is not possible, pull systems should be introduced.
  8. Can we reduce manpower – reducing waste and improving efficiency often means that operational staff numbers can be reduced.
  9. How will we schedule the operation – historically organisations have used ERP systems to schedule the operation in detail. With flow and pull this is no longer required and it is necessary to rethink how to schedule.
  10. Can we improve information flow – following on from reducing the need for complex ERP, there is a need to think how information will flow through the operation.


When creating a future state it is better to consider all 10 questions first before finalising the future state or trying to action plan as subsequent questions may change things.


  1. Operations Design around Value Stream

The first question to consider is “Is the operation designed around the value stream”. Traditionally operations have been designed around functional layouts, for example machining areas, assembly areas and this approach does not ...


To read the full article, please click here.