To stand out in today’s highly competitive digital world, creating more value for customers is a core business strategy. With increasingly more technologies being developed, businesses must find innovative ways to optimize their technology delivery to get the best value out of their offerings.
While it’s essential to create optimal value, it’s also important for business leaders to make offerings affordable while keeping operations profitable.
Introducing these changes can be challenging as there are several core processes involved. If done the wrong way, businesses can end up losing customers and suffer a loss in profits. To do it successfully, many business leaders turn to identifying and managing value streams, a series of steps taken from concept to delivery of a product or service to a customer.
In formal terms, this process is known as value stream mapping. It involves taking an in-depth look at the end-to-end value chain driving a business to deliver the product or service it is selling.
The difference between Value Stream Mapping and Value Stream Management
Value stream mapping carefully breaks down all the value-adding and non-value-adding processes involved in delivering an end product. It assists stakeholders in identifying steps in the value chain that can be improved or those that should be removed. Through back office outsource solutions that can delve into data, value stream mapping also offers useful insights to stakeholders that can be utilized to make informed decisions and better future investments.
Because modern businesses usually scale fast and customer needs constantly change, it’s important to continually monitor value stream mapping to identify areas that can be improved. This is where value stream management comes into play.
Value stream management is defined as the process of working to improve value chains and monitoring performance while using value stream maps as baselines. Value stream management benefits businesses by not letting opportunities go to waste to improve business productivity and profitability.
Both value stream mapping and value stream management are highly effective processes. They complement one another to offer clarity into a business’s delivery systems.
How to effectively implement Value Stream Mapping and Value Stream Management
While value stream mapping and value stream management are two different concepts, they are usually implemented together in combination with outsourced technical support services for optimal benefit.
Value stream management is typically used when businesses realize they want to find the origin of a problem in their value chain, or simply want to optimize the chain. The mapping exercise forces businesses to break down the process into smaller pieces to understand the function of each task and how they flow together. Some examples of use cases include:
- Designing a new manufacturing line or service delivery
- Wanting to improve delivery times for customers
- Improving workflows
Some of the tools required for value stream mapping implementation include:
- Event triggers such as a customer purchase order that ends when some value has been delivered to identify needs in the chain.
- Software for drawing value stream maps or chains.
- Professionals with the right knowledge and experience to lead the mapping process from start to finish.
Value stream management is usually implemented after the mapping process. Managing the value stream consists of consistent monitoring and identifying ways to improve on aspects such as:
- Action plans are drawn from the mapping process
- Delivery times
Some of the tools required for value stream management implementation include:
- Access to current value stream mapping data.
- Software to securely view, manage and manipulate value streams.
- Experts with the right knowledge and skill to optimize flows in value streams.
Implementing both these tools can be challenging if businesses do not have in-house knowledge or prior experience. Fortunately, there are experts in the field who can assist. Some of the responsibilities of implementing value stream mapping and value stream management include:
- Discovering customer requirements and business needs
- Identifying any problems in the value chain
- Determining where the two systems can be used most efficiently
- Implementing the tools to effectively solve the issues identified
Many businesses turn to outsource specialist candidates or find an outsourcing agency that has access to candidates that can help with implementing these tools. Some of these specialists include:
Value Stream Mapping specialists
These experts examine and analyze the current state of businesses’ value stream maps, and design a powerful foundation to build future state value stream maps.
Value stream managers
These experts are responsible for improving the ratio of value to non-value, eliminating any waste in the general supply chain from start to finish. They also ensure that value streams meet customer requirements.
To implement value stream mapping and management software and assist with technical support services, developers are needed with suitable skills in these fields. The software can be developed from scratch or developers can help businesses find a back-office service out of the box.
What type of businesses use Value Stream Mapping and Value Stream Management?
Value stream mapping and management were first popularized in the 1990s after its successful implementation in the manufacturing industry by Toyota. After observing the successes, DevOps practitioners started using these tools in software development processes.
Today, many successful companies around the world use value stream mapping and management for continual improvement in offering value to customers. Some other popular industries include healthcare, finance and eCommerce.
The bottom line
Businesses can realize major benefits from value stream mapping and value stream management and identify previously lost opportunities to improve business systems. New insights can be obtained through these tools, which can be used to make more informed decisions on aspects like new product procurements and future investments.