A Value Stream Map is used to assess the steps in a process for the value they add or cost and how each process impacts the outcome. Some steps in a process provide value because they are expected by the customer, others are required as part of the process, often processes also will have steps or aspects of a step that can be considered as waste.

Value stream mapping can be used to tie multiple LEAN techniques and concepts together. While there are tools for Value Stream Mapping, you can just as easily use a process map and capture the value and waste from each step in a spreadsheet or in the diagram itself.

As part of the value assessment, it is useful to hold a brainstorming session to discuss the process and steps with the people who execute the steps to identify waste. Passive observation can also be used to gain insight into opportunities to reduce waste. As is typical with most quality related exercises, it is important for the initial review to stay focused on discovery of waste and not how to remove waste.

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