Improve non-value adding Processes

Q: How do we apply this to processes that seem to be ‘working’ but in actual fact, value is diminishing, especially when general mindsets are “why change it if it’s working”

A: Ah! Isn’t that a general problem for all those who want to improve things in an organization?
“Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” is merely a matter of fear and non understanding what is really going on. You wouldn’t fly aircrafts like that, right?

Imagine you work in petrochemical industry. How does the organization do this in your plants? Wait till it brakes down? Of course not!

Take this analogy. You would make a survey or assessment to see where the flaws or improvement opportunities are, and make a cost-profit analyses, right?

Well this is the beauty op Makigami: if you make a current state analysis, you would visualize not only your current process, but also its flaws and probably you get a pain in the stomach about the enormous improvement potential. Just do it with the people involved in the process it selves. Do not convince them, they will convince themselves ánd the management…

Increase Value time in Makigami

How can Value Time decrease after performing a Makigami process improvement?

Q: VA stands for ‘Value Added Time’ isn’t it?

So than how can it happen that, after we improve the process, this time decreases with 25%? Is that a mistake?

A: No, this is no mistake!

When analyzing the current state, tons of losses will become visible and lots of improvement opportunities and ideas will popup. So it is not unusual to discover that Value Adding activities can be performed in some other way, faster, more efficient etc. In such cases you will achieve the same value in less time!

Of course the trick would be to ‘cash’ this.
There are 2 possibilities:

  1. Creating the same value in less time = Efficiency gain. This can only be cashed if you do not need to pay for this time anymore.
  2. Creating more value in the same time= Effectiveness gain. The cost will stay the same, but you will have higher revenues from those costs.

Download Makigami Forms

The Makigami forms are downloadable in PDF format and can be printed on A0 format.

Every better copy-shop should be able to do so for you.

In the PDF you will find 3 forms

the ‘head’ section:

First form, left section

a middle section:

Second form, middle section

a tail section:

First form, right section

For the analysis of a complicated ‘current state’ you might need multiple middle sections. We used more than 20 occasionally!

A typical future state would easily fit on a head plus tail section

Click here to open the PDF files and save them to your computer:

MAKIGAMI FORM A0 (Deutsch – German)
MAKIGAMI FORM A0 (Nederlands – Dutch)

If you need different languages, please provide us with a translation and we will post a translated version for you.

How to use the Media lane in Makigami

Q: I had my first exercise with a Makigami map last week.
I wasn’t clear on how the document or “media” lane is used to capture documents, screen shots or other elements that are exchanged across steps in a process. The medium may move horizontally down its lane, cross to an adjacent lane, jump several lanes (as when a waiter delivers an order slip to the kitchen, bypassing service management), or, of course, die temporarily or permanently in an in box or holding area for approval, etc. How does the depiction compare, say, with showing “mechanisms” on an IDEF0 diagram, where vertical arrows from the bottom border of the chart show how a computer program or tool correlates to a process box?
Note that with IDEF0, a document or procedural item can point to the top of a box if it controls or governs that task. It just seems to me that more detail is needed as to how the physical or electronic pieces move about, change custody, and get transformed or stalled.

A: The media-lane visualizes what data-carriers are being used to carry the data in the activities. It is not intended to follow the data-carrier, however if needed you might do so.

My experience is that it is enough to visualize the enormous masses of data-carriers to convince that there is a lot of redundancy and not needed complexity. Goal Achieved, no more need for extra analysis of the loss!

The principle: Once a loss has been identified, in stead of further describing, following and analyzing, get rid of it! That is the main purpose of the current state Makigami! To Visualize where the losses are. Once you can see them: eliminate them!

In what kind of process Makigami can be applied?

Makigami Process Analysis can be applied to ANY business process.
In fact it is basically a more structured VSM than the in the Western world commonly used Value Stream Map.
It is designed to be used on non-visual processes (like in an office).

In a factory one can walk through the process, make observations and count stock, WIP, cycle-times etc.; in an office many things need to be simulated or grasped form in-direct observations or interviews.

To comfort this process of visualizing an invisible process, the Makigami supports and guides.

Makigami can be applied on all kind of levels; Some examples

  • Inter company transfers between companies in a multinational
  • Processes going through several divisions or departments
  • Processes within a department
  • Processes within a group of people.

I would suggest to use it to the extend where several people are involved; in other words where transfers occur between several parties.

If you would like to dive deeper and analyse the process on the level of óne ‘desk’, I would suggest to use the Process Structure Diagram (PSD)

More info on PSD:

I also use Makigami as the tool for classical VSM analyses in factories, to gain a process oriented view. In the beginning this ‘feels’ strange because the team usually is not acquainted to ‘think in process-flows’, but once taken this hurdle, it helps enormous to see where the flow has its obstacles!

International Makigami Qualification Program

To assure consistency in your improvement efforts, Makigami.Info prepares an extensive hands-on qualification program.

Scope of the award

Awards will be granted per site.

To achieve a corporate award, 80% of the sites need to have achieved the award applied for.


Level 1

Commitment Award

  • At least 2 processes have been analyzed (current and future state)
  • Future state design showed plausible improvements >50%
  • 100 days implementation programs have been written
  • 2 facilitators have been trained
  • Management has given approval and resources to fulfill implementation plan

Level 2

Bronze Award

  • The Analysis and Design phases have been performed according to the Makigami Standards
  • At least 2 processes have been designed according to the Makigami Design Principles
  • At least 2 processes have been implemented and show consistent major improvements
  • No money, people, space or complexity have been added
  • At least 2 new processes have been approved and scheduled to be analyzed
  • Upper-and middle management actively support the improvement process.

Level 3

Silver Award

  • At least 1 key-process has been designed and implemented according to the Makigami Design Principles, showing consistent major improvements
  • At least 4 supporting processes have been designed and implemented according to the Makigami Design Principles, showing consistent major improvements
  • A feasible masterplan has been designed and approved to improve all key-processes

Level 4

Gold Award

  • All key-processes have been designed and implemented according to the Makigami Design Principles, showing consistent improvements
  • A feasible masterplan has been designed and approved to improve all support-processes


Diamonds can be applied for at any level. They are tokens of achieving outstanding breakthroughs, like;

  • Full conversion from push to pull planning; MRP system switched off.
  • Full conversion to process teams
  • Zero Emission Factory
  • Zero Defect primary Process
  • Etc.

Makigami Team-kit

Per team needed:

Team-box, including:

  • Pair of Scissors
  • Pritt
  • Crepe Tape
  • Postits Yellow
  • Postits Green
  • Postits Red
  • Postits Blue
  • Marker thin point Red, Blue, Green (i.e Edding 3000)
  • Marker fat point Red, Blue, Green (i.e. Edding 500)
  • A4 Red, Yellow, Green
  • Makigami A0:
    • 2 head
    • 2 tail
    • 4 middle sections


  • 3 boards 244×122 or similar
  • 3 flip-over stands to put boards on

Makigami for treatment of ‘lumbosacral radicular syndrome (LRS)’

Neurosurgical Science Centre Tilburg (St Elisabeth Hospital)

used Makigami to reduce treatment of lumbosacral radicular syndrome (LRS, ‘Hernia’) from an average 107 days to 14 days!

 Two multi disciplinary teams of each 6 people went December 11 and 12, 2006 through a Makigami analysis of the treatment of ‘a hernia’. The process starts with the visit at a neurologist and ends when the patient is correctly being treated.Both teams came up with more than 10 meters of analysis each! Although involved in the process at a daily basis, they where flabbergasted about the complexity of such a ‘regular, standard treatment’. On average a patient is ‘on the way’ for 107 days, with fluctuations between 37 and 270 days.

In the teams participated:

  • hospital manager,
  • manager neurosurgery,
  • floor manager,
  • nurses,
  • secretaries,
  • department assistants,
  • and neurosurgeons.

None of them had knowledge of the whole process, most where even not aware of parts of the process.

It took the teams about 1,5 days to fully understand and describe the current process. During this phase many ideas where raised and discussed. Valuable issues where parked for further investigation. Sharing different perspectives is a crucial goal in this ‘exercise’. Many ideas for the future state of the process are born in this phase.
 At the end of the second day, both teams presented the results at each other and invited guests. They all firmly believed it should be possible to go through the whole process in between 4 to 14 days, depending the route it would take.The future state of the process could be described at 1,5 Makigami sheets, compared to 9 sheets in the current situation. Lots of complexity is eliminated!

The implementation was realized within 3 months.

The project was so successful, that the hospital was flooded with patients from all over the country, causing an unexpected new challenge to the team!

After this first pilot in 2006, the makigami methodology was soon being used by one of the team members (a nurse) to improve other processes.

It has also successfully been implemented in other medical disciplines. Where expensive equipment is being used -like MRI scanners, gamma knives or other radio-therapy equipment- the combination of makigami and OEE (see will show spectacular results!

How Long does a Makigami Analysis Take?

Time Needed
Depending on the complexity of the process and the experience of the participants, it will take app. 3 to 10 days to perform a full Makigami Process Mapping, including a draft implementation plan and ToDo list.

The actual team-based analysis takes some (simple) preparation.

The time consuming part is the preparation for implementation. It takes a good deal of communication to all the involved parties, since the new process usually is fundamentally different from the old one!

People tend to think in ‘tasks’ or ‘functions’, rather than in processes or even systems. Also taking the perspective of value and particularly value to the customer usually needs a paradigm shift that may take a while.

Although major changes can be achieved within 2 or 3 months, the real change of attitude and internalization of ‘new behavior’ can take much longer and needs an ongoing focus of the management.

When drowning in organized losses, this can be quite a challenge…

Consider this: When you can afford all those losses, you could not afford to eliminate them…?? Isn’t that the main task of being a manager? Just start doing it, it is worth while!

Find help!
A skilled facilitator often proves to be essential to

  • help the team to achieve a thorough future state AND 100 day implementation plan within a few days
  • acquire involvement of support-staff and responsible management
  • guide the team through the implementation-phase
  • prevent from falling back to old behavior
  • challenge the sustainability of the new way of working

Improvements with Makigami


In virtually any value adding process, throughput time can dramatically be improve since 95 to 99,5% of the time is non-value adding..

Lots of transfer points (one desk to the other) can be eliminated.

Historically grown processes can become transparent, fast and more stabile by taking out the identified losses.

Throughput time
50% – 90% faster
90% less
Output errors
90% – 100% less
Value added time
If the time stays the same, quality of output goes drastically up. For the same output, the VA time sometimes can go down 25% or more.
The time that has become available can be reinvested in the addition of extra value – things we would like to do, but did not find the time for – or it can be used for new loss-reduction activities.
In this way the negative spiral of ‘starvation due to cost-cutting’ can be turned around in ‘profit growth due to becoming better and better’ -in other words real continuous improvement.