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 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 to… (deliver a quote, for example)
  • Duplication – what kinds of work/tasks are being re-done and could therefore 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 your company currently operates. By creating a Current State Map, your team can visualize how processes are actually being performed. It’s a critical point of departure – before improvements 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 – for example, 1 year or 3 years from now. This goal 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 currently wasteful and could be eliminated or automated. Flywheel is a tool that is often used to grab low hanging fruit and automate it – often times right 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 with 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!