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Value Stream Mapping Software

Parul Solanki
A value stream mapping software benefits the organization by making the process of value stream mapping easier and much faster than the traditional paper-pen approach.
Value stream mapping software allows the preparation and analysis of value stream maps. This software helps design maps utilizing symbols representing activity and information flow.
A part of the Lean Six Sigma techniques, value stream mapping is a visualization tool, which enables an organization to implement, execute, and refine its lean manufacturing activities and business processes.
The end objective being to identify, demonstrate, and decrease the waste in the process. Waste, in this case, refers to any activity which does not add value to the final product. The value stream is a paper-pencil representation of the entire flow of material and information process along with key data.

What is Value Stream Mapping Software

The mapping of the value stream is done by a flowchart software or a process mapping software which depicts the flow of information and goods from one end to other using flowcharts. They also contain the average time taken to complete the sub-process.
While creating the flowchart, key sub-processes are highlighted using specific icons which helps pinpoint the areas where waste and inconsistencies are happening. The introduction of software tools that assist in stream mapping programs are becoming available either as standalone products or as enhancements.
The origin of the method lies in the Lean Manufacturing activities of the Japanese automotive giant, Toyota. They have oriented the method to productivity rather than quality.
This is done by keeping in mind that improved productivity leads to leaner operations which further exposes the waste in quality. Thus, by eliminating waste, the problems of quality and other management problems are addressed as well.

Types of Value Stream Mapping Software

The software used in value stream mapping can be categorized as software used for developing stream maps, and software which designs stream maps as well as analyzes the information contained therein.
Today, many popular mapping softwares support value stream mapping using stencils. The stencils contain standard VSM icons and symbols. With the tools, rapid development of value stream maps as well as conformity to standard symbols is enabled.
A value stream analysis software provides the mapping tools along with the analysis of the results. It analyzes the current processes and facilitates future stream maps.
With a focus on automating calculations along with analysis, this software uses enhanced visuals to articulate the possible benefits that might be achieved through a process change. The analysis software also helps in scenario where calculations are unusually complex and the improvements and financial impacts are to be articulated.

The Advantages of Using Value Stream Mapping Software

The advantage of using a value stream map software is to speed up the process and brings in compliancy and automation to the process.
The standards used while creating these maps help double the mapping productivity while reducing the errors and helping the organization. Along with this, visual gadgets having a hide/show quality and charts can be used to visualize the data.
While critics of the software argue that the benefit of value stream activity using pen and paper activity was much more, it is hard not to take into consideration the advantages of using a software for the process. However, with any software products, firms adopting it must ensure that proper training is provided so that the users can release the benefits.