Value Stream Mapping or Process Mapping: Which One Suits Your Business Best?


Process improvement and optimization need two important methodologies Value Stream Mapping and Process Mapping for effective and enhanced operations. While both share the goal of making processes more efficient, they differ in approaches and applications.

In this blog, experts from the web development firm present you the crucial information about both Value Stream Mapping and Process Mapping. Comparing their key aspects will help you understand when to use each one.

After learning about these methodologies, you will be better equipped to select the correct tool for your business needs.

Value Stream Mapping

It is a lean manufacturing technique, that is used for designing, managing, and analyzing the flow of materials. Many address it as ‘material and information flow mapping’. It helps you deal with repeatable steps for the smooth functioning of the business process. Visualizing and mapping processes are part of VSM implementation. You can develop a better team with the help of VSM.

Here are the key aspects of VSM:

  1. Focus on Value:Value stream mapping identifies value-added and non-value-added activities within a process, with the goal of eliminating waste and improving efficiency.
  2. Holistic View:It provides a holistic view of an ensured value stream from the moment raw materials are acquired to the delivery of the final product or service to the customer.
  3. Visual Presentation:Value stream mapping uses symbols and techniques to create visual representations of current and future states. It allows for easy identification of bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
  4. Lean Principles:VSM is deeply rooted in lean principles and aims to create a leaner and more streamlined process.

Now let’s move to the process mapping.

Also read: What are custom software solutions for enterprise businesses?


Process Mapping

Process mapping on the other hand is a broader technique used to visually represent the steps and activities within a specific process. It is not limited to manufacturing but it is applicable to various industries. Key points about the process mapping will eliminate the doubts.

  1. Process-centric:Process mapping is centered on a specific process, allowing for a detailed analysis of its steps, inputs, outputs, and interactions.
  2. Versatility:Unlike VSM, process mapping is not tied to lean principles and can be applied to various improvement methodologies.
  3. Comprehensive Understanding:Process mapping provides a comprehensive understanding of a particular process, making it suitable for identifying areas of improvement.
  4. Various Types:There are different types of process maps, such as flowcharts, swimlanes, and diagrams, each serving different purposes.

After understanding the key features of Value Stream Mapping and Process Mapping, you should be able to distinguish between the two. Still, we present you with a brief comparison between both of them, helping you quickly understand the difference.


Comparison: VSM and Process Mapping

Let’s compare these methodologies based on three criteria to understand when to use each:

  1. Scope:You can use VSM when you want to analyze an entire stream, making it perfect for organizations aiming for end-to-end process optimization. Process mapping is more versatile and can be used to focus on individual processes and sub-processes.
  2. Visual Representation:VSM uses specific symbols and a standardized mapping technique. On the other hand, process mapping offers various types of diagrams. It gives you flexibility in how you represent processes.
  3. Lean Focus:VSM is deeply rooted in Lean principles, making it a top choice for organizations that use Lean methodologies. But Process Mapping is not tied to a specific improvement and can be adapted to different contexts.


Here is the conclusion to the blog. You know now that both Value Stream Mapping and Process Mapping are important tools for process improvement. So far, you have learned the features and differences. Ultimately, the decision between these options depends on the specific goals of the organization. Now you have the knowledge to make informed choices to enhance your business processes.



Saikat Ghosh working as a Business & HR head at mobile app development company, Technource. He is an Electrical engineer by education and studied management from IIM, Calcutta. He has worked last 23 years in client-facing roles like Marketing, Sales, and Support. He loves to work with on-demand app development, Marketing & Sales strategies, brainstorm new ideas, and learn from people. When he is off from his regular job, he works for his theatre group.

Request Free Consultation

Amplify your business and take advantage of our expertise & experience to shape the future of your business.