Business process mapping refers to activities involved in defining what a business entity does, who is responsible, to what standard a business process should be completed, and how the success of a business process can be determined (Wikipedia). The basic type of process map is a process flowchart, which shows the steps as boxes of various kinds, and their order by connecting the boxes with arrows (Wikipedia).
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) set standards for flowcharts and their symbols and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted the ANSI symbols. The common symbols for flowcharts include:
|Shows the process's order of operation. A line coming from one symbol and pointing at another. Arrowheads are added if the flow is not the standard top-to-bottom, left-to right.
|Indicates the beginning and ending of a program or sub-process. Represented as a stadium, oval or rounded (fillet) rectangle. They usually contain the word "Start" or "End", or another phrase signaling the start or end of a process, such as "submit inquiry" or "receive product".
|Represents a set of operations that changes value, form, or location of data. Represented as a rectangle.
|Shows a conditional operation that determines which one of the two paths the program will take. The operation is commonly a yes/no question or true/false test. Represented as a diamond (rhombus).
|Indicates the process of inputting and outputting data, as in entering data or displaying results. Represented as a parallelogram.
|Indicating additional information about a step the program. Represented as an open rectangle with a dashed or solid line connecting it to the corresponding symbol in the flowchart.
|Shows named process which is defined elsewhere. Represented as a rectangle with double-struck vertical edges.
|Pairs of labeled connectors replace long or confusing lines on a flowchart page. Represented by a small circle with a letter inside.
|A labeled connector for use when the target is on another page. Represented as a home plate-shaped pentagon.
A swim lane flowchart (or diagram) differs from other flowcharts in that processes and decisions are grouped visually by placing them in lanes. Parallel lines divide the chart into lanes, with one lane for each person, group or subprocess. Lanes are labelled to show how the chart is organized. When used to diagram a business process that involves more than one department, swimlanes often serve to clarify not only the steps and who is responsible for each one, but also how delays, mistakes or cheating are most likely to occur.(Wikipedia).
Value stream mapping is a lean tool that employs a flow diagram documenting in high detail every step of a process. Many lean practitioners see value stream mapping as the fundamental tool to identify waste, reduce process cycle times, and implement process improvement (ASQ).
A value stream focuses on areas of a firm that add value to a product or service, whereas a value chain refers to all of the activities within a company. The purpose of value stream mapping is to identify and remove or reduce "waste" in value streams, thereby increasing the efficiency of a given value stream. Waste removal is intended to increase productivity by creating leaner operations which in turn make waste and quality problems easier to identify (Wikipedia).
|When placed in the upper left corner of a value stream map, the typical starting place for material flow, this icon represents the supplier. When placed in the upper right corner, it represents the customer.
|Dedicated Process Flow
This icon represents a single department, process operation or machine with a fixed and continuous internal material flow.
This icon indicates a process, department, operation or workcenter that is shared by other value stream families.
|The data box is placed under other icons that require data to analyze the system. For example, a data box could go below a factory icon to show shipping frequency, product handling data, batch size or other information.
|Use this icon to show that multiple processes are integrated into a manufacturing workcell.
|Inventory between two processes is represented by these icons. If you need to include an inventory count, add it below the triangle icon. This symbol can also represent stored inventory.
|This symbol shows materials coming from suppliers or finished goods going from factory to customers.
|This icon shows material being pushed downstream from one process to the next.
|This icon represents a Kanban stockpoint where downstream customers can get the inventory they need as it is replenished by the upstream supplier.
|This pull symbol represents physical removal of stored inventory from supermarkets.
|This icon represents a First-In-First-Out system that limits inventory input. The maximum inventory capacity can be written below the lane.
|Rather than permanent storage, this icon indicates temporary safety stock to prevent problems in the event of system failures or other issues.
|The truck icon represents external shipment to customers or from suppliers.
|A centralized production scheduling or control department is represented by this simple box symbol.
|Manual information flow from memos, reports or conversation. Indicate the type of information if needed.
|Digital information flow, such as the Internet, Intranets, Electronic Data Interchange, etc. Frequency, type of data and the media used can all be recorded.
|Indicates the production needed to supply parts to a downstream process.
|This symbol represents a card instructing an operator or material handler to move parts from a supermarket to a process.
|This Kanban symbol is used when inventory levels in a supermarket drop to a minimum, and signals the production of a specified number of parts.
|This icon indicates a location for collecting Kanban signals, typically located near a supermarket. In a two-card system it can be used to exchange withdrawal and production Kanban.
|This pull process removes the need for supermarket storage of inventory between processes by providing instruction to a subassembly process to quickly produce a specified customer order.
|A tool that batches Kanbans in order to level out the variety and volume of production.
|Scheduling using an inventory control system such as material requirements planning (MRP).
|Sometimes information is collected through observation, such as when a supervisor makes a production decision after visually checking inventory.
|This represents information flow that is passed verbally.
|This icon is designed to stand out and highlight problem areas. It identifies critical processes for developing a successful future-state map.
|This icon is used to show how many operators are needed to process the VSM family at a particular workstation.
|Other useful information.
|On a value stream map, the timeline is placed at the bottom and shows waiting times and processing times. This can be used to calculate Lead Time and Total Cycle Time.
|These symbols are straightforward, showing rail shipment as a train, air freight as an airplane, and boat shipment with a boat icon.
|Used when something needs to be moved via forklift.
|Indicates product or information deliveries that are expedited.
|This icon refers to a vehicle that picks up or delivers items at multiple locations, often following a fixed route.
|This symbol indicates an internal or external warehouse.
|This refers to closely coordinated trucks, allowing materials to go directly from inbound to outbound trucks.
|Sales or purchase orders can be represented by this icon.
|Telephone orders or other communication by phone.
|This icon represents Kanban cards arriving or being sent in batches.
|Centralized Kanban control.
|A quality problem can be indicated at any point on the VSM chain.
|The cloud symbol is used to highlight proposed ideas, solutions or suggestions.