Without seeing how complex the information is that you have collected it can be hard to give a definitive answer to your question. But from what you say a VSM could be one way to show where information is being held up if you show the workload that is at each stage in the process; maybe with a work in progress measure showing the number of documents with an average time for processing each.
Be careful when measuring processing time, maybe it only takes a few seconds to sign a piece of paper but they will often sit there for days before being reviewed. I would be inclined to take an average number of documents processed in a specific day to calculate a processing time.
I once did a similar process improvement on the flow of paperwork through a company; this was done as a “brown paper” exercise which took up a whole wall of a large meeting room to map out the flow. Despite showing major hold ups people were still resistant to change – that was until we turned the company CEO into a “document” and walked him step by step through the process, desk to desk, explaining how long he would sit on each desk etc. After the initial explosion and fall out things were soon improved. People were given responsibilities to approve work rather than sending multiple documents through many different departments and other issues.
Best of luck with what you are doing.
T&D electric manufactures high-voltage switches and other equipment for electric utilities. One line that is staffed by three workers assembles a particular type of switch. Currently the threes workers have fixed assignments; each worker fastens a specific set of components on the switch and passes it downstream on a rolling conveyor. The conveyor has capacity to allow a queue to build up in front of each worker. The bottleneck is the middle station with a rate of 11 switches per hour. The raw processing time is 15 minutes. To improve efficiency of the line, management is considering cross-training the workers and implementing some form of flexible labor system.