To be successful, the mapping leader needs to be someone who can gain the respect of upstream partners by conducting a rigorous and fair process. Logical candidates are from purchasing, production control, logistics, operations, or a process improvement function like quality or process engineering. Any of these can work. However, assigning a buyer from purchasing to be a mapping leader can lead to problems if upstream participants believe that the real purpose of mapping will be to uncover waste at suppliers, followed by demands for immediate price reductions. Thus a purchasing function will probably need to assign mapping leadership to someone from its supplier development group if all participants are to be convinced that the process is fair, balanced, and aimed at win-win-win outcomes.
The value stream team needs to include representatives of all the firms and facilities that share ownership and management of the stream. Ideally, it would also include the relevant departments within each firm — sales, operations, production control and logistics, purchasing, manufacturing engineering, information management, and product engineering. However, this can make the team too large to walk the value stream together, which is often a critical learning experience. Thus we generally recommend a small team with a minimum of one representative per company. The team can query the functions supporting the value stream as necessary to fill in missing information.
The Wrong Role for Consultants and Staffs An understandable inclination in any firm with busy line managers
and this surely includes practically all firms—is to delegate the
task of creating value stream maps to outside consultants or to internal staff groups, typically in operations planning or process improvement departments. However, in our experience this is misguided. The findings of the consultant or staff expert are rarely credible to the managers who need to take action and the consciousness raising experience of walking the value stream together—discovering the waste and jointly agreeing to a cross- firm action plan—simply never happens. A beautiful report is produced by the consultant or staff team—and in our experience the beauty and precision of the maps is generally inversely proportional to their usefulness—but the findings are then filed away and soon forgotten.
Remember: Only managers taking clear responsibility can fix the mess. So the same managers ought to draw the maps.