Value Stream Mapping

I have recently written about Lean Farming and how this can help businesses identify areas of waste and eliminate them. As mentioned before there are eight areas of waste:

• Overproduction
• Transport
• Waiting Time
• Extra Processing
• Carrying excess stock/stores
• Defect/Disease
• Motion, wrong tool for the job or not being able to find the right tool
• Unused talent within the team

Once you have identified an area of waste the next step is to Value Steam Map, (VSM), the process where the waste occurs. Effectivity this means looking at every part of the process to see if it can be simplified.

Firstly, the problem needs to be identified. This can be done by analysing your cost of production to identify areas of high cost. Once the area has been identified this can be VSM to identify waste. For example, if you identify labour costs as being high you would then need to look at the various processes to see where labour is being wasted. A classic example is calf feeding where one person has to make multiple trips from the mixing point for the milk to the calves and back again. The spaghetti diagram below shows this this very clearly with multiple trips being made to and from one point.

As the diagram shows there are multiple journeys wasting time and money in carrying out this task.

Once you have identified the problem, it is important to sit down with the team and talk about the possible solutions. This should be carried out as a team so that you can gain insight from those actually doing the job. If they feel they are having an input, they are more likely to take on the solution and make the required changes. Set targets for the next six months and then review regularly to see what progress is being made and make alterations if required. The ideas, targets and progress should ideally be recorded on a white board a location that all the team can see and check on. This should be the same place as you locate your standard operating procedures, which detail how various tasks are carried out to ensure continuity when different members of the team do the task.

In summary, start by looking at the cost of production for your business, identify areas of high cost, look at the processes involved leading to high costs and discuss with the team actions to reduce these.

If you would like help in benchmarking your cost of production and then looking at areas of waste and ways to reduce waste, please contact Phil at or your local FCG office.

Posted in Business Management, Dairy & Forage, Sherborne.