Follow Panalpina

Three ways to make supply chains lean with value stream mapping

Blog post   •   Jan 23, 2019 15:20 GMT

Panalpina helps businesses make their supply chains leaner and better. (Photo by Panalpina)

Value stream mapping allows oversight of the entire supply chain and enables businesses to create holistic solutions, optimize and remove waste, as Maria Pía Caraccia, corporate Logistics business improvement manager at Panalpina, explains in an interview with Cardiff University’s Panalpina Centre for Manufacturing and Logistics Research.

Lean and leaner: Businesses can achieve optimized logistics and manufacturing solutions beyond what is done in warehouses or transportation, thanks to value stream mapping (VSM) which allows a 360° view of the entire flow of goods and information in the supply chain. Here’s how:

1. “Zooming out” to identify problems from a holistic perspective

Pía explains: “VSM looks at typical handover points, but also illustrates the impact of your actions on the whole ecosystem. Simply improving one process without realizing the impact on connected processes will just shift the bottleneck and not optimize the entire chain.

2. Identifying where waste is coming from

Process improvement can sometimes backfire. “Certain parts of the supply chain are almost over-optimized,” says Pía. “Manufacturing has become so lean and mass-production so easy that we are creating more waste than before. VSM helps us understand why that is and where the waste is coming from. We then focus on vital activities that drive change. The waste often isn’t where you think it is.”

3. Creating value in the reverse loop where products are returning into the supply chain after purchase

“Products that need repair or recycling are difficult to track and many companies don’t pay much attention to reverse logistics,” notes Pía. “But with this information through VSM, we would have total visibility on products from start to finish.”

VSM workshops

Panalpina’s customers can learn more in workshops that run for one week. Panalpina assembles a cross-functional team covering different aspects of your business. Experts from each area track the whole movement of physical goods and information. They build a map that captures the entire supply chain, from which they simulate the full product journey.

“Any business with a complex supply chain can benefit from value stream mapping,” says Pía. “Panalpina is ready to help existing or new customers make their supply chains leaner and better.”

Read the full interview with Pía.