Date of Award


Degree Type



Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Thomas, M. Brian

Subject Headings

Organizational effectiveness, Office management -- Cost control, Materials management, Value analysis (Cost control), VSM, lean in government agencies, VSM in government agencies


Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a tool for depicting the flow of material in a manufacturing process. This study demonstrates that value stream mapping can also be applied to the movement and processing of information in a non-manufacturing environment. Here, the handling of, and changes to, water project construction plans within the Cleveland Division of Water (DOW) are tracked using value stream mapping. The map identifies opportunities for the Division of Water to streamline its processes and ensure that accurate information about project construction reaches its primary database in a timely fashion. Currently it takes about 19.1 weeks from the time a project is proposed to the time the construction may begin. The value stream map shows that 17 weeks of this time consists of non-value added activity such as backlogs and waiting. A second issue of concern to the DOW is receiving the changes made to the original project plans. It is common for crews to deviate from plan to accommodate unexpected conditions found at a construction site. These changes must be communicated back to the Division of Water. Using Lean tools both value-added and non-value added activities on the value stream map can be identified. The future state map shows how the process might be improved after changes are made to the process. The challenge lies in organizing the information in the VSM to remove or reduce the non-value added steps. With the recommendations made to the Division of Water, the time from project proposal to the construction may feasibly be reduced from 19.1 weeks to 12.1 weeks. Similarly the bottleneck in the flow of the updated project information is identified. It is recommended that the bottleneck be removed as its value is negligible. There are some distinct differences between the office processes and manufacturing processes. Unlike production systems, information flows can be loosely structured and use informal scheduling, making it difficult to identify and map their values streams. However, companies can apply val