Visual management is critical to Kaizen

Visual management is critical to KAIZEN™

Visual Management is a set of techniques for creating a workplace embracing visual communication and control throughout the work environment. The VM philosophy is underpinned by the view that “what gets measured & displayed, gets done.” It makes it easy to understand the processes which have been put into place.

There are two tools that can help: 

1.    Displays: To make staff aware of the related data and information – charts, graphs, etc.

2.    Controls: To guide the action of staff members – sign boards, do’s & don’ts charts, kamishi bai, etc.

Visual displays builds on the 4th S (standardize) of 5S.  5S is an ideal starting point of Kaizen/ Lean journey as it helps to build the foundation. It tests the level of discipline of the management & its employees. It helps to achieving & maintaining a clean and orderly workplace. It helps the Gemba (real place) to speak for itself. Click here to read more about 5S.

In a visual workplace, visual devices are positioned at the point of use, giving employees instant access to the critical information they need, right when they need it. Visuals can easily be understood at a glance, eliminating the wasted downtime that had previously been spent searching, asking, or waiting for information. This model can greatly improve your productivity, cost, quality, on-time delivery, inventory and equipment reliability.

Productivity gains

In her book Visual Workplace, Visual Thinking, Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth states that effective implementations of visual workplace systems have resulted in the following dramatic improvements:

The impact that visuals can have on productivity, cost, quality, on-time delivery, inventory and equipment reliability is truly enormous.

Eliminates Waste & Information Deficits

Companies are often surprised to learn that only a fraction of their activities actually add value for their customers. It’s not uncommon that 50% or more of a facility’s activities are considered waste! A primary cause of waste is information deficits – employees simply lack the knowledge they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. To find the information they need, employees oftentimes waste valuable time and motion searching, waiting, retrieving, reworking… or just plain giving up!


Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth

Read more on visual management here

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