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An evaluation of the value stream mapping tool

Ibon Serrano Lasa (Industrial Management Department, Mondragon University, Mondragon, Spain)
Carlos Ochoa Laburu (Business Organization Department, Polytechnic University College, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastián, Spain)
Rodolfo de Castro Vila (Business Organization, Management and Product Design Department, University of Girona, Girona, Spain)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 8 February 2008




The value stream mapping (VSM) is a tool created by the lean production movement for redesigning the productive systems. Since, it was theoretically developed, some cases have been published where the mentioned tool has been used; however, there is a need to see how it is put into practice, that is to analyze the level in which theory is able to adapt to real practice, the strengths, weaknesses and the key aspects to be taken into account by the applicant teams to obtain the highest performance of the VSM. This paper aims to discuss all of these aspects.


The methodology used is a case study of a company in which the process of application of the VSM has been thoroughly analyzed. A team created to improve the productive system of a manufacture for plastic casings for mobile phones has carried out this application.


The research shows that the VSM is a valuable tool for redesigning the productive systems according to the lean system. Nevertheless, there are some key points for the establishing teams that have to take into account, as follows: the time and training resources spent, the use of suitable information systems and a suitable management of the application phases.

Research limitations/implications

The conclusions of this research can be reinforced by the monitoring of the application process in more company cases.

Practical implications

The conclusions of this research are useful for future practitioners, so that they may bear in mind the different aspects of planning projects for redesigning productive systems by using VSM. On the other hand, these conclusions can also be useful for the academic field in order to enhance the theory of VSM.


The paper is a contribution based on practical references according to a thoroughly monitoring of a successful case in establishing VSM.



Serrano Lasa, I., Ochoa Laburu, C. and de Castro Vila, R. (2008), "An evaluation of the value stream mapping tool", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 39-52.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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