Mark Graban's leanblog.org - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System

Value Stream Mapping Software

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Another question to pose to you, the blog readers and lean folks:

Does anyone have experience with “Value Stream Mapping Software”? I've been asked to investigate options for my organization. I'm not completely sold on the value of using specialized software, either for drawing maps or doing more data collection or project tracking. I always draw VSM's on butcher paper with post-its, but I do sometimes put them into Visio for easy emailing. That said, I'm somewhat biased AGAINST the idea of software, but I'll spend some time learning about this.

Two packages I've seen online:

iGrafx Process for Six Sigma — a broader set of Six Sigma tools, including VSM

LeanView by Orlando Software group — very focused on lean VSM, but with broader project tracking tools

So, not quite apples to apples.

If you have any experiences to share, good or bad, click on “comments” or email me using the link on the left hand side of this page.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

7 Comments
  1. Mike Gardner says

    I have used the Visio stencil of VSM icons sold by the Lean Enterprise Institute and found it to be good for prettying up an storing or mailing a VSM, but not to create a VSM with. VSMs are created on the plant floor, and unless your software and hardware follow you around easily, they don’t help create the map.

  2. Jon Miller says

    We endorse, use and resell iGrafx products. Mapping with iGrafx is much faster than the other products.

    The basic product (FlowCharter) comes with templates for SIPOCs, org charts, fishbone diagrams, and more. They have powerful simulation and statistical analysis capabilities if you need them. iGrafx is the best value for the money.

    I always recommend making maps by hand using paper first. The electronic copy is great for sharing and saving the maps.

    Jon

  3. Walt Gary says

    Even though I was taught to make Value Stream Maps with pencil and paper, sometimes it’s good to record them electronically. Other than scanning them, I’ve used eVSM. You can check it out at eVSM.com. A nice feature of this software is that it will calculate value-added and non-value-added times.

    Walt

  4. JWDT says

    I have found eVSM to be very VSM friendly as well. The other software I have used doesn’t seem to have the robustness as eVSM.

  5. GrahamC says

    I may be making it up – but is there not sensible guidance from Toyota on this topic.
    ‘Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes.’

    Kind of sounds like you’re in guinea pig territory.

  6. Mark Graban says

    That’s why I’m asking — to see if this has been “thoroughly tested” by anyone else and if it’s “reliable.”

    I’m still thinking through how the software “serves pepole and processes” (hence my bias against the software unless it supports an existing business process or helps people do something easier).

  7. Mike Jenkinson says

    Mark,
    Procelerate Technologies, http://WWW.PROCELERATE.COM, offers a very versatile tool call Vdot. Not only will you be able to map your value stream but you can incorporate all the key resources required to execute the process. The product is extremely robust, web enabled and applicable to any business process.
    Contact me to discuss your specific requirements or to arrange a demonstration.
    mjenkinson@procelerate.com

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