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Technologies of Visual Management

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A visual workplace is a work environment that is

  • self-explaining, self-ordering, self-regulating and self-improving
  • where what is supposed to happen does happen
  • on time, every time, day or night

……………..because of visual solutions

The Visual workplace would put an end to

  • Searching
  • Waiting
  • Interruptions
  • Questioning
  • Mistakes
  • Guessing
  • Delays
  • Rework
  • Mistake Proofing
  • Communication flow

..… For all time to come

The central purpose of visual systems……

  • To eliminate the numero uno enemy of the corporate world………..moving without working
  • How is this done?……….. by sharing information vital to the task-at-hand with the people who need it the most, i.e. production associates supervisors and managers.
  • And do it without speaking a word…………with visual solutions

Can you imagine an end to all your Nos !…

  • No Wandering
  • No Waiting
  • No Wondering
  • No Obstacle
  • No Extras
  • No Waste
  • No Searching
  • No Delays
  • No Secrets
  • No Detours
  • No Injuries

……….No Red Ink

A visual workplace is more than…

  • A collection of brooms and buckets & posters & signs.
  • The visual workplace is a compelling operational necessity.
  • It is crucial to meeting daily performance goals, central to your company’s war on waste.
  • It is fundamental to vastly reduced lead times and an accelerated flow.
  • The visual workplace installs the visual language of production directly into the physical work environment itself-and into your offices.

The physical workplace speaks for itself — enabled at last to tell us

  • Exactly where things are.
  • What needs to be done
  • By when
  • In what quantity.
  • By whom and how


Example of Daily Activity Display


The 5 Start-Up Requirements

  1. A clear, attainable vision
  2. A specific role for the individual
  3. An established improvement time policy
  4. A set of defined performance measures
  5. A step-by-step methodology


The 1st Question


To add value we need to know things that we are currently unaware of. This question kindles the need to know.

  • Ask this question repeatedly to dig out the specifics for you.
  • Then translate your answers into specific visual devices and mini systems.

The 2nd Question


If others are to add value then they need specific information that we have but they do not. This is  2nd question.

  • Ask yourself: What information do others need that we already know ?
  • If you still need help, ask people directly, then translate their answers into visual devices that share the information

The 1st Cycle of Work in 5S


Imagine standing in your immediate work area (you as the center) with your arms outstretched; the area that you span with your outstretched arms is your focus of control.

The 2nd Cycle of Work in 5S


When you take charge of your sphere of control &  continue applying 5S as an individual effort, it eventually touches someone else’s sphere of control
(the individual effort of some other person). Your spheres touch or even overlap, one enriching the other.


Each independent but joined individual effort will spread across your work area / department, connect, overlap, multiply and……

Spread further making a grid  pattern. This widens & covers all parts of the organization in a network pattern of effort.

And it doesn’t stop there. Individual spheres of creativity spill over the physical boundaries of the company and connect with individuals in other organizations……

……and the vision spreads in a Kaleidoscopic way!


Decentralized Inventory Control


Series of indicators on the Machine


10 Principal Components of Visual Communication

  1. Placing knowledge & information in the public domain
  2. Enabling the ownership of the environment by its
    occupants (territory)
  3. Enabling users to participate in creating rules & standards.
  4. Increasing the amount of work done by small groups
  5. Increasing informal contact outside of the hierarchy
  6. Developing a system of overlapping responsibilities
  7. Reorienting inspection functions toward observation of facts & problem-solving.
  8. The participation of production personnel in improvement projects in the workplace
  9. Returning to the shop-floor level after years of centralized management
  10. Returning to reality after years of management by abstractions

2 Recommendations for Management while sharing information

  1. Visual communication project should never be started / approached :
  • be started without first verifying the company’s commitment to the path defined by the 10 Principals
  • Purely as technique

3 Golden Rules

For the degree of uniform perception

The objectives must be –

  1. Realistic
  2. Precisely defined
  3. Prioritized

Some Documented Results of Visual Order

15% increase in throughput

72% cut in materials handling

60% decrease in floor space

80% decrease in flow distance

65% reduction in rack storage

45% decrease in number of Handling

12% decrease in engineering cycle time

50% decrease in annual physical inventory time

96% decrease in defects


Acknowledgement: book on visual management by Dr. Gwendolyn D. Galsworth

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Author: Kaizen Institute - India!

Kaizen Institute – India is part of the Global Kaizen Institute operations. Kaizen Institute was established by Sensei Masaaki Imai, the GURU of Kaizen. He wrote the 1st book 28 yrs ago and that is when it all started . We operate in 30+ countries today and have over 400+ coaches helping more then 600 organizations Learn, Apply, Sustain – Kaizen/ Operational Excellence. In India we have two physical offices – Pune & Ahmedabad and 27 coaches in all.

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