Brilliant Value Stream Mapping Icon Fonts

Jamie Flinchbaugh shared on his blog yesterday a brilliant find. The nice folks at Ambor have developed several very useful fonts for lean. The Harvey Balls ideograms are great for filling out the skill matrix.
Compare this skill matrix template using square cells and colors

to this skill matrix template using the Harvey Balls font from Ambor. This is much simpler to make and use.

Equally brilliant are the value stream mapping icon font set. Just download the fonts at the Ambor website, follow the simple instructions and then select the font in your text editing program. Since these are fonts you can copy and paste from the “vsm_demo.xls” file or type them in directly from their alphanumeric values on your keyboard. Since they are fonts, you can do everything to these icons that you can do to fonts. For example in the example at the top of this article I have changed the angles of the information and shipping arrows by going to Format Cells > Alignment > Orientation.

Jamie Flinchbaugh makes a great point that the purpose of value stream mapping is not to create pretty pictures. However the time I have seen well-paid and highly trained people take to slave over computers to document these in order to meet the requirement from above to capture and share these electronically will now be as simple as typing. And it’s free. This is a great example of kaizen, the use of appropriate technology that enables documentation, and more kaizen. Try it out!

3 Comments

  1. Robert

    October 21, 2009 - 5:52 am

    Great idea! The skill-matrix solution is already in use in our company, but we are wasting a lot of time with the “official” documentation!
    To the purpose of vsm and the “pretty picture”-topic: if it helps to sell/promote kaizen/lean in an organisation, than it it a must-have!

  2. lee-jon

    November 5, 2009 - 3:23 am

    Agreed Robert! Nice work. I was going to convert my symbols to visio but this is much better!

  3. Ron Vance

    December 31, 2011 - 7:17 am

    Hello,
    We are beginning a good start in Kaizen activities, but need better documentation and templates for each step with basic instruction for each template; observation templates,spaghetti mapping, checklists of steps to follow, time and motion study, etc. Any help in templates and instructions would be greatly appreciated.
    Ron Vance