The Value Stream Mapping
Value stream mapping relates to a Lean-management approach that serves in analyzing the current state as well as designing a future position that is coupled by a series of occurrences that take a product or service from its initial process through the customer (Nicholas 2010, p 26). The process is mostly applied in Lean environments to enhance analyzing as well as designing flow within the system levels. Despite the process application occurring associated mostly with manufacturing procedures, it is also used in a variety of other fields. Taking such a consideration, it is therefore apparent that application of visual stream mapping is also effective on the individual level (Tabanli and Ertay 2013, p.999). Like organizations, individuals also need to develop plans that that are aimed at ensuring that a difference is created from the current situation when compared to the future situation (Hasle 2012, p 49). On the individual level, value stream mapping aims at adding value to an individual with career development, a notable value addition concept. However, it is important to note that different individuals despite possessing a variety of similarities in their value stream maps, they equally experience some differences (Keyte and Locher 2004, p.179). It is very important to note that the implementation of proposed future value stream map is subject to potential risks, and it is important for a person to prepare in offsetting such risks. Preparation to offset the risk involved is very important, and should not be ignored.
Through identifying areas as well as respective steps essential for improvement, like in the organization platform, it is also possible for an individual to apply the same process of lean manufacturing to achieve set goals and objectives. The attainment of a good VSM requires application of a variety of mapping tools that aid in identifying various processes as well as actions that posses the capability of adding value to an individual. It is however important to note that some of these value-additional processes or actions may prove costly but where the returns are significant, it is worth to incur such costs. While comparing my individual Value Stream Map (VSM) with that of my classmates, it is clear that there is a connection between my VSM and that of my colleagues. However, there are also differences. In a management class, it is apparent that one of the notable shared concepts across all students relates to landing of management roles in the near future with most students projecting a period of between ten to fifteen years to have accomplished their goals. As management students, aligning goals towards achievement of a top management post is in line with the goals of potential managers after acquiring the skills. Management skills gained during the course of education as well as the experience that will result in the period of the proposed ten to fifteen years works as the tools towards Lean-thinking approach.
Some other attributes shared relates to less painful annual budgeting cycles with expectations for an end to the challenge predicted upon completion of college education. Painful budgeting cycles serve as hindrance towards individual development. This is attributed to the fact that despite gaining opportunities for adding individual value through attending training and development programs, failure to possess adequate funds hinders the development. Once the challenge is over, it becomes easier for a person to add value through learning more about management practices. As it happens within organizations, value-addition may require organizations to incur initial costs despite the overall aim of the organization being to reduce costs of production. Failure to posses the funds required for initial implementation of a project hinders an organization implementation of Lean approach (Laureate Education 2014).
Another shared concept among individuals relates to shorter lead times with every person attributing the importance of shorter lead times to assist in achieving set goals and objectives within the set framework. The process ensures that the projected future plans and continuity is achieved in time if projected employment opportunities are achieved. Shorter lead-time serves as one goal of Lean Thinking in organizations. Through establishing shorter lead times during production, waste reduction is eliminated and thus saving on the company resources (Womack et al. 2003, p. 139). Consequently, fewer raw materials are used in production as waste products are eliminated fully or achieve significant reduction. Focusing on shorter times towards accomplishing set goals is equally mentioned by my classmates as a means to ensure that time wastage is eliminated through trying on achieving unachievable goals and unrealistic objectives. Evaluations and reflections are easily made where short lead times are set and corrections easily made where required as opposed to wastage of resources emanating from long lead times while aiming at achieving unrealistic goals and objectives.
However, I realized that there exist a number of differences from my VSM with that of some of my classmates. The first difference relates to leadership where those aiming to achieve leadership qualities as part of their VSM attribute leadership as an essential factor towards effective management. It is important to note that there is a difference between management and leadership where management involves the activities of coordinating, staffing, and directing among others (Lean Enterprise Institute 2006). Leadership on the other hand, relates to the ability to influence others. Possessing leadership qualities is considered an essential factor in good management among my peers. Those in support of leadership qualities in management rely on the role of a manager as a role model and therefore argue on the need to possess the ability to influence other members within the organization. Aligning the VSM towards achievement of leadership attributes therefore proves an essential tool in adding value to the quality of an individual aiming to succeed in a management role.
Another notable difference is achievement of set goals within an organization without straining. That simply implies to succeed in doing assigned tasks with ease. The last concept relates to quality performance with those achieving that objective terming it as an important tool towards achieving promotions and trust within an organization (Sim and Chiang 2013, p. 203). Success in practical applications was attributed as a major drive towards achievement of higher positions by my peers that classify ease in performing tasks allocated as a tool towards achieving of higher management positions. In essence, it makes sense that in the current world where competition is very crucial, success and one attained with ease is a plus towards achievement of higher positions. Organizations will only reward individuals that portray active and consistent success in their assigned roles with better roles whenever opportunities occur.
After comparing my VSM with those of my classmates, I realized two changes that I termed crucial and intend to make. In addition to the already existing future goals, I consider to incorporate leadership as a key concept. I intend to ensure leadership alignment in all my processes and roles. Ensuring leadership alignment in every action or role I undertake is as a result of realization that leadership alignment serves as a critical tool to enhance in achieving outstanding performance. Aligning towards leadership is essential in that, the psychological directive within the head of every leader is directly tied to how an organization will perform effectively. VSM is essential in helping a manger to align all the team members and departments around the purpose of the organization, strategic direction together with annual goals of the business as well as priorities for improvement. Consequently, through leadership alignment, it becomes possible to identify cracks within the organization’s operation, treatment of customers and suppliers as well as the employees. Therefore, consideration of adding leadership as an essential tool in my VSM is a result of the significant benefits attributed to the concept.
The next concept I intend to incorporate in my VSM is based around the work itself (Martin 2015). Through ensuring that I perform my roles with ease, it will not only serve as a show of my success in my field, but equally as a measure of how I ensure utilization of my skills, knowledge, as well as aptitude for learning. In essence, considering success as an additional tool in my VSM help in adding value and serve as a supportive indicator towards achieving my future goals and objectives. Effective completion of roles assigned opens room for further challenging tasks that serve in preparing my path towards attainment of a top management post. Consequently, success serves as a boost to a person’s confidence and is therefore an essential tool towards attainment of my future goals.
It is however important to note that there exists various potential risks associated with implementing my proposed VSM. Some of these risks relate to poor working conditions within organizations, lack of motivation, and technological changes (Manos 2014). It is important to note that some challenges are beyond individuals control and therefore individuals need to work at their best level possible. For example, a challenge emanating from poor working conditions is beyond individual control as presentation for improvement comes from the management and other parties deliberate on the issue. To facilitate offsetting negative impacts that may affect the process of implementing my VSM, observing various processes prove essential. First, there is a need to continuously engage in training and learning of management roles through attending training and development programs. This serves in ensuring that a person is prepared to deal with a variety of challenges within the organization. Keeping in touch with technological changes is also an essential factor to avoid remaining behind in terms of the direction of the industry and the organization (Womack et al. 2003, p.238). In handling issues related to improvement of employee morale as a result of the possibility of retrenchment, it will require a broad thinking to portray to employees that the performance and success of an individual serves as an assurance of their positions. Encouraging employees to undertake continuous learning will also help in ensuring that they remain competitive.
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