What is Makigami

When we want to see in a production environment where value is generated in our process, we use Value Stream Mapping (VSM). The physical flow of products is here clearly visible.

When we have administrative processes, the value stream is limited in visibility, which makes creating a VSM less suitable. Work In Progress (WIP) and associated bottlenecks are much more difficult to detect.

Makigami offers a solution here. Makigami is the equivalent of Value Stream Mapping for administrative processes. It can be used for processes that take place in the office or service providing . These processes have often limited visibility. Offices, banks, labs and hospitals are typical environments where Makigami is used to make the process transparent.

Makigami is derived from Japanese and literally means roll "Maki" and Paper "Gami". The name is derived from the fact that the process flow analysis is done on a roll of paper that is hung in the environment where the process takes place.

What does a Makigami process mapping look like

As already indicated, the word makigami is derived from Japanese and means roll of paper. Because just like a VSM, the process is analyzed on a large piece of paper that is unrolled from a roll of paper. There are many digital templates available on the web. Although a digital template can be used to document the process once the makigami exercise is over, it is not recommended to use a digital template when creating the process flow. Always use a roll of paper or a large whiteboard for this.

The makigami process mapping consists of four areas: activities, documents and system, time analysis and bottlenecks.


Let's look at these areas one by one


The process to be analyzed is baked off and broken down into separate process steps. The processes steps are shown on a time axis in a swimming pool diagram (swim lane diagram). Each swimming lane represents a division. The information flows between the different steps are indicated by arrows. By using a swimming pool diagram, the interaction between the different departments becomes clearer.

 If there may be a problem with the roles and authorities of the various departments, the swimming pool diagram can be expanded with a RACI analysis. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable , Consult  and Inform. RACI is a method to record the roles and responsibilities of the people involved in the process.


Documents and systems

The documents used during the process are named. typical examples are checklists and fill-in forms. These can be both paper and digital documents. The (software) systems that are used are also mentioned. The use of (many) different types of documents and systems are often indications that unnecessary actions are taking place that have no added value.

Time analysis

The time analysis quantifies the added and non-added value. The lead time is also quantified. by reducing the lead time, we ensure that the invisible WIP between the process steps such as emails and forms in physical folders or virtual folders is reduced. Any administrative errors will also be noticed more quickly. And finally, more work can be done in the same time span. The following elements are measured:

  • The lead time: this is the total time required by the process from the beginning of the first process step to the end of the last process step
  • The waiting time within a certain process step
  • The waiting time between two process steps
  • The time during which we generate added value within a process step
  • The lost time. This is the time when we perform actions, but the actions do not generate added value within a process step. This therefore excludes the waiting time during which we do not perform any actions
  • The active time. This is the sum of the lost time and the time during which we generate added value.
  • The percentage of added value. This is easily calculated by dividing the time of the added value by the lead time.


Possible bottlenecks and waste within a process step and between process steps are noted and indicated on the makigami map.

The number of transfer moments is also noted. The more transfer moments, the greater the risk of misunderstandings and long lead times.

Work visually as much as possible to indicate bottlenecks.

A lightning bolt can be used to highlight process steps that are a bottleneck. In other words, process steps that are problematic.

A red arrow can be used to indicate information transfer between departments where there is a potential bottleneck.

A green arrow can be used to indicate information transfer between departments where there is no bottleneck.

 tips to apply Makigami

Designate a moderator to facilitate the creation of the makigami. this should be a person who has already gained experience in making a makigami map and facilitating meetings.

Before making a makigami it is important to define the scope of the project. Once this has been defined, the team members can be determined.

A good makigami map is made by a team. The team consists of the people who know the process well, these are the people who are closest to the process, in other words the people who carry out the process. In addition, it is also necessary to involve people who are far from the process. They provide a fresh look. Make sure everyone is involved and the session is interactive.

A process can be mapped in different ways:

  • how you think it is
  • how you think it should be
  • how it really is

You have to start from the "current state" in other words how the process really is. That is why it is so important to involve the people who are running the process.

after making a makigami from the current process, you can make two more makigami's. The first is the "ideal state" which is what the process looks like in an ideal world. The process is characterized by a short lead time with a minimum of waste.

Unfortunately, the "ideal state" is not always feasible in the short term. Therefore, it may be desirable to create a "future state". This makigami shows what the process will look like in the near future. It is an intermediate step towards the "ideal state". While drawing the "future state" makigami one must start from the point of view of the customer. identify what the customer needs are and ensure that there is a consensus about this within the team. Make sure that the changes within the process contribute to customer needs.

 Try to shorten the lead time and reduce the risk of defects. Or in other words to increase the quality. Actively look for ways to eliminate waste from the process. Don't forget to reduce the transfer times, so you also reduce the number of errors associated with this. Here too, visual management can help to make the transfer between departments run more smoothly. Ensure that the role of each department is clearly defined.

It is best to make a makigami in the area where the process takes place. Make sure the roll of paper (makigami) can hang in the area for a while. This ensures that people can easily make clarifications afterwards and look back at it while making the improvements.

Base the time analysis on actually measured times and not on estimates. If the makigami is not made in the same area where the process is being performed, one should go and look at the process. In other words, go to gemba.

Determine the actions required to move from the current state to the future state. Create an action post and implement it. The action plan is a list that describes who does what by when. After implementation, validate that the process indeed complies with the "future state" and that all bottlenecks that were intended to be addressed have been effectively eliminated.

Finally, the new process must be documented in a new standard operating procedure.

This article was updated on December 7, 2022