In business, waste is best avoided. It is absolutely detrimental to the health of your organization. Time value mapping can help you figure out what processes do not contribute positively to the end product and are therefore eliminated.

Overview: What is a time value map?

It is created by the tracking of a work item every step of the way through its processes, all the way until it gets to the end-user. It shows where and how time is spent and anywhere that is not seen as adding value for the customer is seen as waste. Steps within a process can be broken down into categories. These are value-added activities, essential non-value activities that provide unavoidable waste, and non-value-added activities.

3 benefits of time value mapping

Creating a time value map for a work item can be a great way to sort out the gold from the muck in your processes. Here are some of its benefits:

1. You can see where all the time is going.

One of the key benefits is that it can identify waste related to time, such as delays and wait.

2. It helps to maximize value.

Another benefit is that it aims to maximize the value given to your customers.

3. A time value map can identify congestion.

You are able to identify where in a production stream you are encountering a point of congestion. This is known as a bottleneck.

Why is time value mapping important to understand?

Any method utilized to have a more complete view of your business is worth understanding. Understanding a time value map does this in a number of ways:

1. Visualization

Some people absorb information more easily visually. Having a time value map gives you a graphic representation of your processes and can make problem areas easier to spot.

2. Optimization

Understanding this type of graphic representation presents you with the opportunity to be able to optimize how value is given to your customers.

3. Recognize what is important

With this graphic representation, you identify which process steps have the most significance.

An industry example of a time value map

A manufacturing plant is running into difficulties getting its products into customers’ hands in a time frame that is encouraging repeat business. A decision is made to plot out a time value map. It is determined what activities and processes are keeping the plant from thriving. The reasons for most of the delays are able to be cut out, and in the next quarter, a vast improvement in customer satisfaction is reported.

3 best practices when thinking about time value maps

There are a few key practices to consider when thinking about this visualization:

1. Some perceived waste may be unavoidable and necessary

It would be great if we could eliminate all the things that a customer does not perceive as valuable, but some of them cannot be helped. Examples of these would be the time it takes to purchase materials and the time it takes to inspect parts. Obviously, these may be able to be improved upon. It is possible, though, that they get to a point where no further improvement can be made and the perceived waste is necessary.

2. Thoroughness is key.

In order to get a real view of where improvements can be made and waste can be cut away, you must track every activity that is part of a work item’s process and the time involved in that activity.

3. You can’t expect the customer to see the value in everything.

Just because an activity cannot be seen as valuable by the end-user, doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary. You will have to take a hard look at some of the activities and whether they are vital to the operations of your business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about time value maps

Can using this save me money?

Absolutely! Creating time value maps is part of the waste-eliminating process. It can bring about major cost reductions from little to no-cost improvements.

Is this the only tool for identifying and analyzing waste?

There are actually several tools you can explore. Some of these include waste walks, waste logs, opportunity process maps, value matrices, and VA/NVA metrics.

What are some examples of waste that could be figured into time value maps?

There are 8 recognized categories of waste. These are defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra-processing.

How to create one

Now that you have read a fairly thorough primer on time value maps, you are probably wondering how to create one. It is actually fairly simple.

First, you create a centerline that represents the timeline of a project. The endpoint on the left is the beginning of the project and the endpoint on the right is the conclusion of the project.

Above the line, you chart activities that are value-added at the appropriate points along the timeline. Below the timeline goes the waste.

You can use different colors to represent the three categories. You can use different colors to represent the three categories. Most commonly, it is green for value, yellow for unavoidable waste, and red for waste. Some choose to have things like delays and idle time represented by blank space or gaps.

Once you have this visualization, you can begin to eliminate the waste areas that are unnecessary in order to improve the quality of your business processes.

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