Literally translated, Kamishibai means “paper drama” and is a form of storytelling with origins dating back to the 12th century in Japanese Buddhist temples. Fast forward to today, and Kamishibai boards is considered and important part of the Toyota Production System. These boards, sometimes referred to as a T-card system, is a proactive approach that helps organizations sustain their Lean efforts.

Often times, a company successfully implements 5S their facility or benefits from using Lean strategies, but without diligence these improvements probably won’t last long. Kamishibai is the solution! Kamishibai boards are a visual tool used for auditing processes within the manufacturing system ensuring the workplace is being maintained and quality checks are regularly performed. A Kamishibai board holds the facility accountable and provides a standardized option for conducting daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly audits. 

How does a Kamishibai board work?

A series of cards are placed on the board and are cue cards with instructions on auditing an area or process. Having set instructions on each card reduces variability and minimizes differences between individual preferences and style between managers. Employees pick a card, follows the instructions, and records it on the board. By looking at the board, a manager will be able to immediately see whether or not the audit was completed, whether or not any abnormalities were discovered, the root cause of the issue, and a suggested solution.

Managers can also set up their boards and auditing process to fit the needs of their facility. Cards can picked by employees at random, or a manager can create a schedule and allocate specific tasks to individuals. It will depend on the facility to schedule these audits. Some processes may require a daily check while some may only need evaluation every couple of months. Ultimately, these boards help to allocate, sequence, and execute a standardized audit for work routines and tasks.

 Kamishibai boards are a helpful tool to use during Gemba walks, for sustaining a 5S program, or evaluating improvements that were recently implemented. It is also a great way to maintain safety and cleanliness and can be used to enhance a total productive maintenance program.


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