The Value Stream Mapping Application In the Warehouse Enviroment
Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a vital tool in the warehousing environment, which captures the flow of information and materials required to accomplishing a particular task in the warehouse. It is a method of designing and placing in an one-page diagram a picture of all processes required to complete a specific task (i.e. from the time q distributor places an order with the Customer Services Dept. till the time he is to collect it from the Warehouse area or received the order – or moving and stocking newly received products onto the storage racks).
The aim for this application is to record all information, materials and steps needed for the accomplishment of such task; (i.e. from the warehouse to the distributor’s point of receipt or from the receiving end to the storage racks).
In this effort, the staff assigned to perform such task(s) shall be able to capture both value-added and non value-added processes. The latter element would form the basis of what we usually call “process waste”. Eventually, all the non added value processes will have to be eliminated.
VSM remains a key tool in assisting warehouse personnel to identify and eliminate process waste within their operating area such as factory, warehouse, distribution centre, office etc.
In general terms, waste could be identified as any activity which does not add value to the product, or any material or resource beyond what the customer requires and is willing to pay for.
We usually identify two distinct types of waste:
- Visible wastes: these are certain elements that we can see, identify and obviously handle. (i.e. rejected or damaged goods, shortages etc).
- Hidden wastes: these are more important and costly, as we are not
always able to immediately and promptly identify or handle.
According to Taiichi Ohno (founder of Toyota Production System) there are seven types of hidden wastes, as per below-given picture.
Value Stream Mapping Outline
A simple way to delineate the basic steps of the Value Stream Mapping is as follow:
- Identify the process or the system to be mapped.
- Map the current state of operation (as it currently is or operates – no
change at this stage is required).
- Identify, capture and eliminate waste within the current state map.
- Design and draw a future state map.
- Prepare, approve and implement your future state map.
- Review efficiency of your new state map and implement any required adjustments.
Value Stream Mapping Application
- Select the person in charge and set up your expectation list of tasks.
- Form a team – Select members (Appoint a person in charge).
- Select process to be mapped.
- Collect data and produce current state map. (Ensure the correct and accurate understanding of current business, process times, inventory, customers etc).
- Analyse current state. (Encourage your team to make suggestions, look
for areas of waste and propose required improvements).
- Map future state. (Compile a future map based on your current map’s suggestions, improvements etc).
- Create action plan, approve it and commence implementation.
- Measure benefits. (Ensure that all benefits expected have been obtained).
- Proceed with any required modifications based on the feedback of your periodic evaluation activity.
Examples of Value Stream Mapping Application
Value Stream Mapping Application Tips
- Always collect current state information while walking the actual pathways or material areas yourself.
- Begin with a quick walk along the entire door-to-door value stream.
- Begin at the receiving end and finish at the supplying end.
- Bring your stopwatch and do not rely on times and information given to you; obtain timings yourself.
- Map the whole Value Stream yourself.
- Always draw by hand in pencil.
Value Stream Mapping represents a useful and valuable tool for the optimisation of all warehouse activities. It provides the needed assistance for the three major elements in any warehouse environment (space, equipment & personnel).
The Value Stream Mapping application will assist in regulating the warehouse storage space, will contribute to the elimination of major waste elements and ensure the uninterrupted flow of products and Material Handling Equipment (MHE) in the warehouse.
Identify areas of risk in your warehouse, design your action plan and implement it.