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Value Mapping for Competitiveness Part II


The Value Stream Mapping can become busy and complex. When working with teams on a project, complexity can cause people to "check out" or lose interest. Most of the VSM sessions should focus on the cycle time in each process step. The simplified VSM below focuses on cycle time of each step. We can add other process information on the post-it notes as necessary.

The picture below is an example of a value stream map using three different colored post-it® notes (red, yellow, and green) and a flip chart. The first two steps in the below template show a flow for what goes on each card.


Value stream mapping with post it
Template for a value stream map drawn on a flip chart with colored Post-it® notes.

We use three different colored post-it® notes (red, yellow and green) to represent the three different value-added activities:

  • Red post-it® notes= Non-Value Added (or NVA) activities. NVA activities are any activities that fall into the eight wastes.

  • Yellow post-it® notes= Business Value Added (or BVA) activities. BVA activities are any activity that is mandated or necessary to complete them, like a government regulatory requirement.

  • Green post-it® notes= Value Added (VA) activities. VA activities must fit one or more of three criteria:

    1. Customer wants us to do it.

    2. The material or information is being processed or transformed into final products.

    3. It is done right the first time.


VSM example using colored Post-it® notes.
Information in Post-it®.

Below is an example of a Value Stream Map using colored post-it® notes and a flip chart. Here, we use a digital representation rather than taking a picture of a VSM on an actual flip chart.

 VSM example using colored Post-it® notes.
VSM example using colored Post-it® notes.

In every Lean implementation, it is important to understand the current process design and the way the design influences the flow of products through the factory. After understanding the current state of production, we need a structured approach to get to an improved future state of the value stream.


Traditionally, in value stream design, a team thinks of random improvements to reduce inventories or increase throughput, which can cause a lot of kaizen events which hardly really improve the bottom-line results.

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