RESEARCH BRIEF: Benefits of Using Value Stream Mapping to Record Electrical Consumption

by Shawn Crawford, MF candidate, 
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The Forest Products Industry has made a concerted effort to reduce operating expenses in order to stay competitive in the global marketplace.  Manufacturers have applied lean thinking and energy management programs to help them identify and address inefficiencies but the systems work independent of each other which diminishes their overall value and benefit.  Developing a methodology that applies lean thinking to correlate energy consumption with throughput would provide a valuable resource for the industry.

Figure 1. Example of Value Stream Mapping (VSM)


Lean thinking is a process improvement that focuses on increasing value-added processes and decreasing non-value-added processes (Womack and Jones, 2003). Value is determined by the customer (Womack and Jones, 2003). Eliminating or reducing non-value-added processes can increase production rates for value-added-processes (Liker, 2003). By eliminating or reducing non-value-added processes, energy efficiency is improved.

After a company has bought into the concept of becoming “lean” they must first identify both value added and non-value added steps within a process.  However, identifying value added contribution of various process steps is difficult to do without seeing the entire process.  Value stream mapping (VSM) is a way of showing how material/products and information flow through the entire production process (Rother and Shook, 2003). When taking a value stream approach it is important to focus on the big picture and not just individual processes.  Rother and Shook (2003) state that “a value stream is all the actions (both value added and non-value added) currently required to bring a product through the main flows essential to every product.”  When mapping out the current process it is generally recommended to start the map beginning with the customer and then mapping subsequent upstream processes to the supplier or raw materials.  In doing so, it allows production to view the process from the customers view point thus, allowing the customer to determine value and non-value added processes.

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RESEARCH BRIEF: Using GIS for competitive business advantage

by Melissa Brenes, MS candidate,

Recognize characteristics of clients such as where they live, their behavior, and their preferences on stores has become a necessity for companies now a days. (Badea, R. Bagu, C. Badea, A & Moises, C., 2009). Knowing that such characteristics of customers are so significant for the business, it is important to accelerate processes such as customer profiling, and profile behavior which will give the corporation a competitive advantage.

By combining conventional marketing techniques with geospatial methods enables users to picture the spatial distribution of data in maps -such as the distribution process, the market diverse- also complementing it with statistical graphs and diagrams will link  marketing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). (Musyoka, S.M, Mutyauvyu S.M, Kiema J.B.K, Karanja F.N,  & Diriba D.N. , 2007).

With GIS Business Analysis users can better understand their organization environment information, the competition, and also improve the decision making process related to customer behavior. In addition, business analysis can build models that fit into the organization’s analysis workflow for site evaluation, market penetration, and conduct customer prospecting. (Raduj, C. 2009).

According to (Lawrence E., 2007) faculty and leaders of colleges of business apparently are not aware of GIS and its capability in helping make solid immediate business decisions, regarding site analysis, and spatial management of business activities. In a research conduct by Lawrence (2007), only 5 of 140 colleges of business have GIS courses in their curricula and just 23 of these have courses included spatial analysis. On 2007, only few curricula’s include GIS analysis as an effective business decision-making tool.

There is much work to be done not only in the academic collaborations of colleagues of business and geographic departments  in helping companies to embrace the GIS as a effective way of making decisions, develop marketing strategies, and gaining a competitive advantage in their industry sector.


  • Raduj, C. (2009) The GIS and data solutions for advanced business analysis. Economia, Seria Management. Vol. 12, No. 2, 2009.
  • Badea, R. Bagu, C. Badea, A & Moises, C. (2009) Costumer Profiling Using GIS. International DAAAM Symposium, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2009.
  • Musyoka, S.M, Mutyauvyu S.M, Kiema J.B.K, Karanja F.N,  & Diriba D.N.  (2007). Market segmentation using geographic information systems (GIS). Marketing Intelligence & Planning. Vol. 25, No. 6, 2007.
  • Lawrence E. (2007). GIS and Collegues of Business: A curricular Exploration. Journal of Real Estate Literature. Vol. 15, No. 3, 2007