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Future State Value Stream Map (VSM)

A future state value stream map (VSM) is simply a projection of how a value stream should look in the future, generally 6 to 12 months.

When a current state value stream map is created, problem areas become apparent. The bottlenecks where inventory piles up, processes with poor quality, and operations requiring excessive coordination should all be marked with kaizen bursts, which indicate areas of focus for the future state value stream map. Operations where work is pushed downstream should also be highlighted.

Once the problems with the current state map are identified, a new VSM, the future state map, is created. This becomes the blueprint for the operation’s Lean transformation. All activities required to achieve the future state should be put into an action plan.

Ideal future state maps should balance need, opportunity, and resources. Teams will often have far more ideas for improvement than can reasonably be achieved in the future state map’s time frame. The future state VSM is not a wish list. It is a vision of how the value stream will really look.

As projects are completed, current and future state maps should be updated. The effect is that the future state map is always 6-12 months out.


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