Value Stream Mapping (VSM)

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is the act of producing a picture (map) of an entire working process. A VSM includes both material (product/ service) and information flows and includes both value-added and non-value-added activities.

It is a tool used to identify waste and potential areas of improvement within a process. A VSM shows values (information like the timing of steps) and numbers to objectively display where improvements can be made.


A VSM is useful for defining and understanding the process for how materials and resources are purchased, transported, stored, used in prefabrication processes, then prepared and shipped to the site to be used at the project.

Understanding and documenting the full process enables teams to identify waste, opportunities for value enhancement, and areas where the production and efficiency can be improved as whole.

Value Stream Mapping Template

Value Stream Mapping Template

Best Practices

  • Use VSM to handle simple and repetitive projects or processes.
  • Help decision makers to formulate and optimize project processes.
  • Use VSM for cases involving multiple functional areas or departments.


The VSM discussion starts by mapping the current state of the process from beginning to end. This allows the team to find areas that do not add value to the process.

Afterwards, the team is left with what’s called the future state map – the map of the ideal process that is free of waste. The visualization of the future state map allows the team to analyze and implement actions to achieve it.


  • Collect data while observing the process.
  • Keep a record of the time it takes to complete each step and identify any areas of inefficiency.
  • Define the current state of the process so that any issues can be identified.


  • Rush into an improvement plan without fully understanding the current process and identifying pinch points.

Business Drivers

  • Identify and remove waste to have a consistent flow (level workflow).
  • Process efficiency and improvement.
  • Identify ‘pinch points’
  • Support continuous improvement.


  • Provide effective communication and collaboration.
  • Provide a clear visualization of the current state of the process and clearly see where waste is occurring.
  • Highlight problem areas.
  • Identify opportunities for process improvement.
VSM Attributes

 Complementary Methods