Eliminating Waste with a Value Stream Map (VSM)

Eliminating Waste with a Value Stream Map (VSM)

Ready to start eliminating waste in sales and marketing? Once you’ve identified high-level business goals to improve efficiency, we recommend you start by doing a Value Stream Map.

What is a Value Stream Map (VSM)? It’s a process mapping tool used by leading manufacturers to understand how you deliver value to the customer. In Sales/Marketing, this applies to how you communicate with customers prior to the order, and during cross/upsell activities. A good Value Stream Map will help you identify specific areas of waste as outlined in the 8 Wastes of Lean Sales & Marketing. Specifically, a VSM will help you improve the following:

  • Cycle time – how much time it takes a person to complete a task.
  • Process time – how long it takes deliver a quote for example.
  • Duplication – Work that is being re-done that can be eliminated.
  • Accuracy – How often a task is completed 100% correctly the first time.

Here’s how a VSM is built:

Current State

Before you can eliminate waste, it’s important to clearly understand how you operate today. By creating a Current State Map, your team can fully understand where you’re at today. It’s a critical point of departure – before improvement can be measured, the current way must be understood fully.

Future State

This is the fun part – set your team free to think about how they would like to operate – free of the constraints of the systems/processes you have in place today. It’s important to set a time horizon on the future state – say 1 year or 3 years from now. This helps drive the improvement plan.

The Plan

Once you’ve identified your Future State clearly, it’s important to build a management-supported plan to eliminate waste in sales/marketing. We recommend going after the “low-hanging fruit” – processes that are very wasteful today that could be eliminated or automated. Flywheel is a tool that is often used to grab low hanging fruit and automating it – often times out of the box.

Where should I begin?

If you’d like to do your own value stream map, there are great resources online like this one that can guide you through the process.

For many manufacturers, working with your local MEP (here in South Dakota we recommend Manufacturing Technology Solutions) to build the map with your team. There’s a lot of value in bringing someone in who has experience to the process to help guide your conversation.

Ready to start eliminating waste?

We offer a complimentary Lean Sales & Marketing Consultation to help start the conversation. Click below to schedule a time!

How to Get Started with Lean Sales & Marketing

How to Get Started with Lean Sales & Marketing

Get Lean Sales and Marketing

Did you know that applying Lean to sales and marketing can deliver an even more significant return on investment than production?

While Lean Manufacturing Methodology used by nearly 70% of manufacturers today to reduce cost and improve efficiency, less than 20% have applied it to sales & marketing.

Why don’t lean philosophies get applied to sales/marketing more often?
Sales and marketing are communication driven, and until recently sales and marketing technology hasn’t been adapted to lean, in other words, it was difficult. That is changing now, making lean sales and marketing possible for any size manufacturer to adapt quickly.

Getting started with Lean Sales & Marketing

1 – Identify your goals and growth plans as a company, as well as the biggest obstacles in the way. Goals are key for later on in the process. Here is a handy document you can download to get to the key questions.

2 – Think of Sales & Marketing regarding processes, and break down activities into processes. In marketing, this is often called a “Funnel.” Funnels can be applied both to opportunities, prospects, and existing customer cross and upselling opportunities. Either way, think of how you interact with customers in terms of processes, what is working, what’s broken.

3 – Look for areas of waste. Look for processes that aren’t efficient, are run too many times, or are constantly error-ridden. An excellent way to do this is by creating a Value Stream Map. If you aren’t familiar with value stream mapping, here is a good guide. If you’d like some help, we recommend talking with your local Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to assist with this. In South Dakota (our home state) our local MEP SD Manufacturing Technology Solutions is very experienced in doing value stream maps.

4 – Grab low-hanging fruit. Areas of waste become apparent during the value stream map process. Find the areas of waste that are the easiest to eliminate, then get rid of them by improving your process and applying automation tools like Flywheel.

5 – Rinse, repeat. Once you have a win on the board, go after the next level areas of waste. Usually, this is done in 2-3 cycles, but it depends on the complexity of your process and opportunities to improve them.

We’re here to help.

Flywheel performs complimentary Lean Sales & Marketing consultations to efficiently walk you through the above process and identify high-level areas of improvement.

Like this article? Check out our posts on common wastes in sales and marketing among manufacturers.

Go Deeper: Learn About Lean Sales and Marketing - Free Whitepaper p Applying Lean in Sales and Marketing