Value Stream Mapping for the Process Industries: Creating a Roadmap for Lean Transformation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Value Stream Mapping for the Process Industries

Creating a Roadmap for Lean Transformation, 1st Edition

By Peter L. King, Jennifer S. King

Productivity Press

244 pages | 100 B/W Illus.

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Providing a framework that highlights waste and its negative effects on process performance, value stream maps (VSMs) are essential components for successful Lean initiatives. While the conventional VSM format has the basic structure to effectively describe process operations, it must be adapted and expanded to serve its purpose in the process industry.

This book describes in detail how to create a complete VSM for a process industry manufacturing operation. Detailing the unique features of process operations and why they require additions and adjustments to traditional VSMs, the book walks readers through the steps in analyzing the map. It explains how to scope improvement projects, prioritize them, and then use future state VSMs to illustrate and motivate systemic improvement. In doing so, it supplies readers with a roadmap for a complete Lean transformation.

  • Describes how to analyze the map for waste and flow issues so that they can be reduced and even eliminated
  • Provides examples of the calculations needed for the flow parameters in data boxes
  • Explains how the VSM concept can be applied to the entire supply chain
  • Includes strategies for engaging your entire workforce in map creation

The book introduces a target manufacturing process and uses it to describe how to create a complete VSM. The target process is complex enough to illustrate the issues often encountered in mapping a process industry operation, but straightforward enough to explain all of the mapping considerations and decisions.

The book includes real examples of how VSMs brought much greater clarity to the real issues the processes faced and cases where the insight enabled management to avoid costly, inappropriate investments.


Value Stream Mapping has become a key tool for implementing Lean thinking and positive change across our business. This book describes, in detail, the process by which Pete King has helped many organizations like ours to delight customers and relentlessly drive out waste. A must-read for any executive wanting to facilitate a transformation journey within the process industries.

—Steve Anderson, Global Vice President of Supply, Afton Chemical

Pete King has developed an international reputation as a leading authority on the subject of Lean in the process industries. In this book, he superbly condenses his decades of practical experience into a clear and highly effective guide. From diagnosing the major wastes and inhibitors to flow, to designing and executing a roadmap, Pete offers everything required to deliver true operational excellence from Value Stream Mapping.

—Pete Wright, Managing Director & Principal Consultant, Pico Consulting Ltd.

A must-read for practitioners and consultants alike. So far, Lean initiatives in the process industry have been handicapped by the fact that all good books on Value Stream Mapping refer to discrete manufacturing. Food, pharma, and chemical processes are, by their nature, different and need an adapted approach. Peter King’s deep, hands-on experience provides the process industry with a state-of-the-art toolkit to eliminate waste and reach breakthrough performance.

—Hans van Oosteren, Managing Partner, Improvium

The book is very practical in its organization: for each theoretical step, King includes real-world examples. More than a book on VSM, it offers us a meaningful and complete discussion about process industry productivity. As he explains the different parts of the map, King skillfully guides us through various practical approaches used to eliminate waste and create flow. It is remarkable how he managed to include so much knowledge and experience into a book that is so pleasant to read.

—Henrique Fagundes, Operations Implementation Leader, McKinsey & Company

Peter has based this book on his extensive experience, to create a clear guide which will be invaluable for both leaders and Lean professionals. The user will be able to use the VSM to identify waste and remove bottlenecks, following the real examples from both the discrete product and process industries. This is the first book I have read on the subject that goes into the required level of depth and detail to clearly demonstrate the path to a complete Lean transformation.

—John Cockburn-Evans, Fellow, Institute of.Chem.E.; Certified Professional Coach; Senior Consultant & Lean Coach, DuPont Sustainable Solutions

Table of Contents

The Value of Mapping

A Focus on Flow Rather Than on Function


Value Stream Mapping Fundamentals

Introduction to Value Stream Mapping

Material Flow

Major Process Steps

Data Boxes

Process Box and Process Data Box

Inventory Data Box

Transportation Data Box

Customers Data Box

Supplier Data Box

Material and Information Flow Icons

Information Flow

The Third VSM Component—The Timeline

Parallel Equipment

Level of Detail


VSM Enhancements for Process Operations

Distinguishing Features of Process Operations That Require a Different VSM Approach

Capital Intensive vs. Labor Intensive

Material Flow Patterns—SKU Fan Out

Product Changeover Issues Are Complex

Product Families—Selecting a Target Product or Family

Takt Rate vs. Takt Time

Units of Production

Generating the Map

Time Units

Where to Begin


Additional Good Mapping Practices

Good VSM Practices

Map Layout—Flow Direction

Level of Detail

Level of Precision

Parallel Equipment

Logical Flow vs. Geographic Arrangement

Support Processes

Computer Tools vs. Brown Paper

Qualified Guidance and Coaching


Our Focusing Problem—A Synthetic Fiber Process

Process Overview

Raw Materials

Step 1: Polymerization

Step 2: Fiber Spinning

Step 3: Draw–Anneal

Step 4: Cut—Bale

Finished Product Storage and Shipping

Order Processing and Production Scheduling

The Synthetic Fiber Manufacturing VSM

Developing the Material Flow

Calculating Data Box Parameters

Process Step Data Boxes

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Calculating Availability

Calculating Performance

Calculating Quality

Calculating OEE

Remaining Factors

Another Example of OEE

Supplier Data Boxes

Customer Data Boxes

Inventory Data Boxes

Transportation Data Boxes


Material Flow Rates and Takt

Calculating Takt


Rope Takt in Gaylords

Annealed Product Takt

Filament Takt

Flake, Spinning, and Polymer Takt

Raw Material Takt


Completing the Data Boxes: Utilization, Delivery Frequency, and Days of Supply


Transportation Frequency

Inventory Days of Supply


Mapping the Information Flow

Why Map Information Flow?

Fiber Manufacturing Information Flow

Capacity Constraint Resources

Additional Information Mapping Tools


Developing the Timeline

Timeline Principles

Fiber VSM Timeline

Cash Flow Cycle Time


Finding the Waste—Analyzing the Map

General Impressions from the Current State

Inventory Opportunities

Baler Reliability

Spinning Yield

Long Campaign Cycles (EPEIs)

Hot Roll Draw–Anneal

Uncoordinated Scheduling

Capturing Potential Opportunities

Scoping the Opportunities

Inventory Opportunities

1. Raw Material Inventory in Rail Cars Is Too High

2. Flake Inventory Is High

3. Filament Inventory Is High

4. Rope Finished Product Inventory in Gaylords Is Too High

5. Right Size the Cutter Box Inventory

6. Bale Finished Product Inventory Is Too High

Equipment Opportunities

7. Spinning Changeover Losses Are High; Spinning Utilization Is High

8. Baler Reliability Is Poor

9. Changeover Improvement—Balers

10. Reduce the Baler Campaign Cycle (EPEI)

11. Mothball One Baler

12. Hot Roll Draw–Anneal Reliability and Yield Wastes

13. Mothball One Polymer Reactor

System-Wide Opportunities

14. Implement Virtual Cellular Flow

15. Filament Tub FIFOs after Implementation of Virtual Cells

16. Implement Pull Replenishment across the Value Stream

17. Drop the 60 Very Low Demand SKUs


Implementation Strategy and Sequence

Strategy for Implementation of Improvements

Riverside Fiber Plant Future States

Future State Generation 1

Future State Generation 2

Future State Generation 3


Future State Value Stream Maps

Why a Future State VSM?

Future State 1 Map

Future State 2 Map

Future State 3 Map


Supply Chain Mapping

Why a Supply Chain Map Is Important

Supply Chain Wastes

Effects of Wastes at the Supply Chain Level

Supply Chain Map Components

Future State Supply Chain Map

Supply Chain Map Example


VSM as a Way of Engaging Employees

Origin of the Problem

A New Paradigm on the Role of Labor

The Nature of Engagement


A Roadmap for Continuous Improvement


Benefits of Developing a VSM

Operations That Have Benefitted from Using a VSM

Processing of Large Rolls in a Sheet Goods Plant

Bottling Salad Dressing

Cooling Towers in Polyethylene Production

Producing Waxes for Coating Cardboard Boxes

Improving a Capital Project Execution System


Appendix A: Process Industry Characteristics

Characteristics That Distinguish the Process Industries

Equipment Is Large and Difficult to Relocate

Processes Are Difficult to Stop and Restart

Capital Intensive vs. Labor Intensive

Hidden WIP

Product Differentiation Points


Appendix B: SMED Principles

SMED Origins

SMED Concepts

Product Changeovers in the Process Industries


Appendix C: Cellular Flow

Typical Process Plant Equipment Configurations

Cellular Manufacturing Applied to Process Lines


Appendix D: Pull Replenishment Systems

Why Is Pull Important?

What Is Pull?

Pull in Assembly

Difficulties in Process Plants

Push–Pull Interface


Visual Signals

When to Start Pulling: The Sequence of Implementation

Value Stream Focus

Showing Pull on a Value Stream Map


Appendix E: Cycle Stock and Safety Stock

Cycle Stock and Safety Stock

Calculating Cycle Stock

Fixed Interval Replenishment Model

Fixed Quantity Replenishment Model

Safety Stock

Variability in Demand

Variability in Lead Time

Combined Variability

Example—Cut–Bale 2 Safety Stock


Appendix F: Product Wheels

Introduction to Product Wheels

Product Wheels Defined

Benefits of Product Wheels

Product Wheel Applicability

Process Improvement Time


Appendix G: Additional Reading

About the Authors

Jennifer S. King is an operations research analyst with MCR LLC, analyzing operational impacts of emerging FAA technologies and developing cost and performance models to support airline investment decisions. Prior to that, she spent five years with the Department of Defense developing discrete event simulation models to assist the army in setting reliability requirements for new platforms, and analyzing performance of weapon systems alternatives. Her prior publishing experience includes editing textbooks and developing mathematics problems and solutions for ExploreLearning. She is the co-author of The Product Wheel Handbook—Creating Balanced Flow in High Mix Process Operations (Productivity Press, 2013).

Jennifer has degrees in Mathematics and Psychology from the University of Virginia, and a master’s degree in Operations Research from the University of Delaware. She is a member of INFORMS.

Peter L. King is the president of Lean Dynamics, LLC, a manufacturing improvement consulting firm located in Newark, Delaware. Prior to founding Lean Dynamics, Pete spent 42 years with the DuPont Company, in a variety of control systems, manufacturing systems engineering, Continuous Flow Manufacturing, and Lean Manufacturing assignments. That included 18 years applying Lean Manufacturing techniques to a wide variety of products, including sheet goods like DuPont™ Tyvek®, Sontara®, and Mylar®; fibers such as nylon, Dacron®, Lycra®, and Kevlar®; automotive paints; performance lubricants; bulk chemicals; adhesives; electronic circuit board substrates; and biological materials used in human surgery. On behalf of DuPont, Pete has consulted with key customers in the processed food and carpet industries. Pete retired from DuPont in 2007, leaving a position as Principal Consultant in the Lean Center of Competency. Recent clients have included producers of sheet goods, lubricants and fuel additives, vitamins and nutritional supplements, and polyethylene and polypropylene pellets.

Pete received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech, graduating with honors. He is Six Sigma Green Belt certified (DuPont, 2001), Lean Manufacturing certified (University of Michigan, 2002), and is a Certified Supply Chain Professional (APICS, 2010). He is a member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, APICS, and the Institute of Industrial Engineers.

He served as president of IIE’s Process Industry Division in 2009–2010. Pete is the author of Lean for the Process Industries—Dealing with Complexity (Productivity Press, 2009), and several published articles on the application of Lean concepts to process operations. He is the co-author of The Product Wheel Handbook—Creating Balanced Flow in High Mix Process Operations (Productivity Press, 2013). He has been an invited speaker at several professional conferences and meetings. He has presented seminars and taught courses across the globe on the application of Lean concepts to process operations.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control