Sustainability Using Visual Management | Operational Excellence Quick Hits

Quick Hits share weekly tips and techniques on topics related to Operational Excellence. This week’s theme relates to Organizational Performance Part 12: Visual Management. We hope you enjoy the information presented!

, Sustainability Using Visual Management | Operational Excellence Quick Hits, Future State Engineering
, Sustainability Using Visual Management | Operational Excellence Quick Hits, Future State Engineering

Speaker 1: (00:06)
In last week’s session, we talked about sustainability and the importance of being able to sustain improvements through the transition of moving to a high-performing organization. Important element of that is incorporating visual management. What is visual management? It’s a technique that allows for communication through sight without verbal communication. The key here is without verbal communication. If you walk into any area, you can see the current situation of any process.

Speaker 1: (00:39)
It involves the use of visual aids to display the status of the process. A good system of visual management, everyone should be able to walk into that area and understand the current condition without asking questions. The important part is to be able to see what is normal. What does good look like? And if we understand what good looks like, then we can understand what is abnormal. If we have abnormal conditions, then we need to take corrective action.

Speaker 1: (01:10)
To me, the most important part of visual management is being able to use it as a tool to coach employees when abnormal conditions exist and to correct behaviors that are counter to what we want from that process. The process, is it performing as planned, and of course, that process is part of a bigger system. In order to get system improvements and better performance from the system, the processes needed to support the overall system. If we have abnormal conditions, we need to correct those behaviors.

Speaker 1: (01:45)
What is normal? A condition that occurs when a process is operating inside of its normal operating limits, describe what good looks like. An abnormal condition is when the process is operating outside of its normal operating limits. In order to understand when abnormal conditions exist, we must understand first what the normal condition is. So here’s an example of a visual management that I helped a company install in their business. This is their scheduling board. It’s a visual scheduling board.

Speaker 1: (02:18)
The process steps are down the left-hand side here. Each card represents a work order in the system. Different colored cards represent different product families. As the cards complete the operation, they moved down the board and they move to the left as time moves on. We use a simple color code system, green, yellow, red, and black. Black means the order is late. Red means its in its last third of its production lead time. Yellow is in the middle third, and green is in the first third.

Speaker 1: (02:57)
These two black lines on here represent if the cards are between those lines, that it’s normal condition. If a card is outside those lines, it’s abnormal. Those are the things we talk about in the production meeting. The meeting is 15 minutes long to talk about abnormalities. You see, there’s some cards out here. They’re black, means they’re late. We need to be taking expedited efforts to get these jobs completed.

Speaker 1: (03:24)
And then also, we’re collecting data on what caused these jobs to go late and parading that data to understand where we need to focus to make better improvements to maintain stability. Visual management is an important part of the sustainability piece and moving the organization forward towards high performance.