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Creating a Value Stream Map

Once you’ve identified a product or service to improve, you’re ready to create the current-state value stream map to gain an overview of the process.

Customer, supplier, process

First add the customer and supplier at either ends of the map. Next, add the processes, starting with the final step — this is typically the delivery of the finished product.

Let’s say you work for a manufacturer of cell phone batteries that has two main customers. To create the shell of the map, start with the source symbols, which are rectangles with jagged tops. Put the supplier on the left side, the usual starting point for a material flow — and put the customer on the right side, the usual end point for a material flow.

You represent delivery from the supplier to the customer with truck symbols. Then you add five rectangles for the main processes, which are electrode coating, cell assembly, formation, testing, and packaging.

Map the production flow

Once you’ve created the shell, you’re ready to map the production flow.
Next, connect the processes with push arrows — which are striped, straight arrows — indicating material flow pushed to the next phase.

Then, add the number of operators and the circular operator icon for each process to the top of the process boxes. For example, the electrode coating process uses three operators.

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