Value Stream Mapping Software


    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
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    1. 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. 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.


    3. 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 A nice feature of this software is that it will calculate value-added and non-value-added times.


    4. 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.

    5. 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).

    6. 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.


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