A value stream map (VSM) is a drawing that depicts the flow of material and information along a value stream (the linked series of processes that brings a product from raw materials into the hands of the customer, or that provide a service to a customer).
A value stream map is generally hand drawn, as it lets the mapper record information on the spot. For that reason, a value stream map often looks a little scruffy from traveling around the company.
Many people will copy a value stream map into a graphics program, such as Microsoft Visio, which has a value stream map stencil pack.
Each process on a value stream map is shown with a process box, identifying the number of operators, and a data box below it. The bottom of a value stream map shows the production ‘heartbeat’, the relationship between cycle time (actual work happening) and waiting time while inventory is queued up. Combined, the value stream map shows the lead time the customer is facing.