Visual management is the idea of using visuals to make situations more easily understood and keeping workers on the same page. Often the goal is to get as much information across as possible with little observation needed. Using visual cues in the workplace can have a positive impact on both efficiency and safety some examples of visual management strategies include:
- Kanban: Kanban cards and boards are a great system to use for Just in Time Manufacturing. These cards and boards are visual cues developed to only produce needed inventory and cut down on wastes,.
- Obeya: Setting up an Obeya room for development and planning is an excellent visual tool. The goal of the Obeya room is to help managers, supervisors, and workers complete a PDCA cycle with the help of seeing important information and ideas posted in a logical manner. Ideally, a whole room would be used to set up an Obeya, with information posted in the following the steps of Plan-Do-Check-Analyze. By only posting relevant information and making it easily accessible, people will have a better understanding of context and may find an easier time coming up with solutions.
- Signs and labels: Using signs and labels around the workplace can work to company’s advantages. Labels are an essential tool to facility organization and often an integral part to the 5S methodology. Labels can be used to denote the homes of equipment and tools, or barcoding labels can be used for inventory management.
There are many benefits to using visual management as a strategy in the workplace. Using signs and labels as reminders, standards can be more easily enforced. Tools will get placed back to where they go, and workers can be reminded of safety expectations. Using 5S and Lean visual tools can help with the decision-making process and to keep the production process running smoothly.
It should be noted that training is often necessary for successful visual management. Employees should be trained on understanding visual cues and what different systems are being used in the workplace.