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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Book Review: Value Stream Mapping

Value Stream Mapping is a foundational approach to visualizing your systems to optimize value through focused improvements. My good friend Karen Martin and Mike Osterling present a detailed guide to this approach in their book Value Stream Mapping.

Karen and Mike attempt to address 3 common gaps in value stream mapping (VSM):
1)    Unfamiliarity with VSM as a method to build an outstanding organization
2)    Under-utilization of VSM due to lack of understanding
3)    Misusing VSM and not reaping the full benefits.

They focus of the benefits of value stream mapping, how to conduct them, and how use them for improvement and sustaining gains. Karen and Mike provide tips (guidelines) from experience for impactful and expedient improvement.

Value Stream Mapping is primarily written for organizations in information-intensive offices, service, and knowledge work environments. They focus on processes in a wide range of industries and professions.

Karen and Mike include six examples of current and future state value stream maps drawn from the authors' real experience in across business environments as various as Outpatient Imaging Services, Purchasing, Repair Services, Shelving Systems and Software Development in the Appendices.

Many business people have an incomplete understanding of a VSM and treat it as a tool that is used once in a while with minimum results. This book explains how to utilize the VSM not just as a tool but as a way to manage business. Value Stream Mapping is an excellent step-by-step guide to doing them the right way.

Value Stream Mapping is a short quick read that is easy to understand for anyone. Karen and Mike provide a great resource to get the most out of your value stream. They go beyond the map itself to get sustainable improvement. This is an excellent book that you should read, practice, and implement.

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