Bring Value Stream Mapping Alive!

Bad News: VSM is not a Lean Design tool. Don’t try to use it as one!

Good News: You can upgrade your VSMs to a full Mixed Model Line Design.

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) has become a well-known Lean tool since the publication of Rother and Shook’s book Learning To See was published in 2003. Its main strength is an emphasis on examining the entire work flow from start to finish and avoiding “point solution” changes that may not actually improve performance.

Many Lean practitioners attempt to then use the VSM approach as a design tool, trying to implement the Future State based on the identification of Kaizen opportunities and a Future State VSM. This is a mistake. The Value Stream needs to be designed based on Lean Industrial Engineering principles. Value Stream Mapping is simply not detailed enough to be a final design methodology.

In this webinar we’ll walk you through the steps of converting a VSM to a full-blown Mixed Model Design. We’ll also be introducing the use of Discrete Event Simulation Modeling, as a powerful tool to help you with your analysis and design efforts.


If you did them right then your existing VSM will be an excellent starting point for your formal design efforts. If you did them wrong, you might need to start over!


Expand your Value Stream Maps by going to the next (and necessary) level of detail: identify all specific products, forecasted demand for each, specific process flows, and individual work times by product and process. This is a data-driven approach!


Engineer your Future State by applying the Mixed Model Line Design methodology. Calculate required resources, balance the work flow correctly for a family of products, add buffers and develop sequencing rules to overcome variation in work content and mix.

The modern Western view of value stream mapping stems from this book (Learning To See). However, it almost took on a life on its own, and in the Western world, VSM nowadays features much more prominently than the authors ever imagined, and sometimes even more than they wanted!
— When to Do Value Stream Maps (and When Not!)

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