Visual management is a way to visually communicate accurate information, standards, and performance within the workplace to make it available at all times to those who needed. The objective is to make out of normal situations visible to everybody, so that corrective actions can start immediately. Visual controls communicate a standard and actual performance.
A good visual workplace speaks for itself; it is easy to understand the status of the system performance at a glance. Effective visuals are simple, easy to see and read, everybody understand the same thing and act the same way. Managers, supervisors and operators, know what to do with the information.
Visual Design Process
- The first step to create visual controls is 5S, the foundation of visual management.
- The first level of visual control is put in place while working in the step 4, Standardization.
- Visual control design is a team activity, have a group of them participating in the process.
- Ask the following questions
- What do I need to know? What do I need to share? Where? When? Who? How? How many?
- Provide specific, precise, and complete information (the answer to the above questions).
- The answer to those questions needs to be obvious as people walk through the workplace.
- Create a basic layout, each type of information, always goes in the same place.
- It must be visible at a distance, choose wisely the background, font type, color, and size.
- Use graphics or pictures whenever it is possible, but do not overcrowd the visual.
- Adopt a symbol to acknowledge when the team meets the goals.
- Use less words, if possibly create symbols instead of a lengthy text, they take less time to read.
- To ensure it is easy to understand, use simple words, clear pictures, and charts.
- Use color coding when possible, be consistent with the meaning of the colors across the site.
Location and Use
- Install visuals at the point of use, where the information is needed.
- Ensure that everybody knows what the visual is, the objective, and rules.
In summary, for visual management to be real and effective, everybody has to see the same, know the same information, understand the same, and act in the same way. If these conditions are not present, then the visual is not effective. In a visually managed workplace, anyone will know the who, what, where, when, why, and how of an area within 5 minutes.