Now that you’ve developed your lean supply chain management plan, you’re ready to begin taking a clear look at your supply chain to see how you can reduce waste in light of labor and materials shortages. While creating your strategy, you may have already taken a broad assessment of your supply chain and identified where to reduce waste. This step allowed you to create your overarching goals and vision for your supply chain strategy. It also let you create action items and get all of your employees on board with sweeping changes. Now, it’s time to take a deeper dive into your supply chain and use value stream mapping to create a visual representation of your business enterprise and supporting processes. What is Value Stream Mapping? Value stream mapping involves creating a visual representation of all processes and actions in your lean supply chain strategy. Beginning with the enterprise level value stream map you’ll identify how the various functions work together (or not!) to coordinate the many facets of your supply chain. The resulting map will spotlight those functions within your supply chain that are underperforming and require improvement. The enterprise value stream map is an especially valuable tool when implementing a strategy for the first time because your employees can see how they contribute to the overall supply chain as well as how their new processes save time and benefit customers. You’ve already created a True North Vision for your company. Following the opportunities identified by your enterprise value stream analysis, you need to map the supporting business processes which will let you identify where to remove physical and function waste from the process. Examining Your Supply Chain to Identify Waste Post-pandemic materials shortages have likely highlighted inefficiencies in your process. You probably know where these deficiencies are impacting your supply chain. You’ve likely noticed your production volume dropping off or identified products that can’t be completely manufactured because key components aren’t available. Pay close attention to these parts of your supply chain. Start With the Customer in Mind Before you start making drastic changes to your supply chain, examine your value to customers. Your lean strategy will help you navigate shortages and it will save you money, but these savings should not come at the expense of your end user. Knowing what your customers value will inform your value map. Additionally, understanding common complaints gives you the opportunity to address them as part of your strategy. Evaluate Production and Administration Processes for Functional Waste When developing your lean strategy, you likely interviewed employees about their responsibilities and daily activities. You may notice trends highlighting parts of the process that are overly time consuming. Employee feedback also helps you gauge the efficiency of each step of the supply chain from production to logistics. Product and Packaging Design When mapping your current processes, start with product design. Start with products that are being delayed by materials and labor shortages. Look through all product components and identify areas where materials can be switched out with parts that are less expensive and more readily available. Consider the product packaging as well. You may find packaging alternatives that are cheaper to produce and don’t require as many raw materials. Redesign Processes That Produce Excess Waste You know how you can reconfigure packaging and product design to use fewer and less expensive materials, but there may be parts of your process that generate excess waste. When you’re dealing with a materials shortage, wasted materials not only cost money, they can cost excessive time while you’re waiting for new supplies. Note parts of your process that generate non-recyclable waste. Identify how these processes can be improved and see if there are ways you can use waste materials to make additional products. Manage Your Inventory A lean strategy also involves reducing waste on the back end. When creating your value stream map, identify products with excessive inventory. Consider why there is excess inventory. It could be a seasonal product that didn’t sell because of COVID-19 restrictions. It could be because the product wasn’t marketed to the right customers. Examine all of these factors along with the product and packaging design of your excess inventory. There might be components that can be recycled and used in other products. Use Your Results to Develop Your Future State Map Your current state map lets you identify parts of the process that can be streamlined as part of your lean strategy. Once you’ve removed these parts of the process, create a Future State Map. This map will make it easier for you to communicate changes to employees and vendors at every part of your supply chain. How Incito Can Help We will work closely with you to chart your future state map, establishing a value stream mapping lean logistics arrangement that lets you better meet the needs of your customers. Contact us and learn more about value stream mapping for lean logistics. Want to learn more? Schedule a consultation. About how Incito can help transform your business and tackle your most important strategic challenges.