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Topic One Value Stream or Four?

One Value Stream or Four?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Russell Bernard Lane 9 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Okay so, we’re looking at Lean Accounting and they encourage thinking not in terms of Department A versus Department B, but as individual, end-to-end value streams. But our company makes very similar products for 4 different customers.

    So, is that ONE value stream because each product goes through the same, nearly identical process steps; or is this FOUR value streams because the products are slightly different and go to four DIFFERENT customers?


    Reputation - 280
    Rank - Aluminum

    It depends on what ‘slightly different’ means. Are there any significant requirement or end differences to account for?

    My first question would be what is the problem you are trying to solve? That will define the level of detail you need to go to document your value steam(s)

    With what you have shared, I would start thinking as four unique value streams but there will obviously be some best practice and process steps components that are identical.


    This brings me back to a management demand to VSM the process where there was no standard process. So we did an idealized VSM but no one agreed that this was what they actually did. Don’t go there. I’d suggest to map the processes using some other tool such as a simple flow chart. If they are very similar you may be able to do a single VSM with notes for when a step is applicable.


    Thanks, Diboy89 and Straydog. The formulas for the materials are different and the shapes are different, so I’m still leaning toward multiple value streams. On the other hand, perhaps the main thing I’m trying to accomplish is to educate the Accounting folks that we may be thinking differently about accounting, especially managerial accounting. That may not require so much creating Value Stream Maps, as just educating them about Lean and how it is okay to serve your internal customers (managers, quality improvement teams) differently from your external customers (home office, lenders).


    I agree with Strayer, simple flow or a swim lane map to show all the functions involved and hand offs.

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