Revisiting the Concept of Value Stream Mapping

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Centre of Logistics and Supply Chain Management (CeLS); Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Centre of Logistics and Supply Chain Management (CeLS)

Abstract:

Value Stream Mapping is a common tool used in a lot of instances in today’s industrieswho have adopted any kind of Lean initiatives. However, Value Stream Mapping (VSM) may not always fit to the best extent and intention of the industry applying it; therefore a need for tailoring certain aspects of it have been seen in some cases where the original tool has not been enough. However there is little research on how to adopt VSM towards the tire industry, it is the case that some adaptation is needed in order to fully map the value the chain is trying to capture as seen by some authors who use VSM on other industries. This leads to conclude that further research is needed in order to see the benefits and chal-lenges in the creating of a tailored value stream tool in order to understand how it would affect the company its applied on as well as increasing the knowledge of its capabilities and drivers for it application.

The impact this research would have is to begin bridging a gap of the usage of how a Tai-lored Value Stream Mapping (TVSM) tool would affect when applied to a specific industry. For this paper, a case study within a Tire Company located in Europe, who stated that they had issues regarding their current usage and utilization of VSM, was conducted. The com-pany has projects going all over the globe but sees a lack of initiative and success without the direct involvement of its central plant. The purpose of this research is to investigate the perceived impact as well as the benefits and challenges of utilizing a company TVSM, in-stead of a standardized one, taking into consideration both particularities of the industry, as well as the culture of the firm. Also an understanding is sought to recognize the motiva-tions that drove the Tire Company to choose a tailored approach.

The research was conducted as a qualitative single case study involving three different sitesbelonging to the tire industry located in Europe. It is built upon both a theoretical part, comprised by a literature review of the concepts of VSM, Lean and TVSM; and an empiri-cal part derived from the case. The Empirical data was collected through semi-structured interviews as well as participant observations, supported by secondary data collected from the company in form of written documents concerning the internal training of VSM.

The findings concluded that, the reasons for sustaining a TVSM are its ease of use, and ability to reach out and be understood by people with little to no training in VSM’s. The company fitted training documents would decrease the training needed and the time spent doing so. Some other benefits were the empowerment of employees and the sharing of knowledge across multiple sites in a standardized company language. Albeit with the chal-lenge of creating and upholding such documents and training, compelling the company to have experts with knowledge of VSM and the company processes and culture with the added challenge of also maintaining regularly updates as the company moves forward.

Implementation of a tailored approach is practical where there has been identified that it exists a gap between different plants or departments, local or globally, regarding knowledge or experience when there is a requirement for standardisation, communication and need for change.

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