Visual Management. What is it? Why use it? Examples. Do’s and Don’t’s.

To address these, we first hear from two experts giving their take on visual management. Then we’ll get information on why visual management boards fail and finish with a look at what a professional visual management company has to say.

Craig Otto, Production Support Manager at General Dynamics Land Systems, defines it as: “Providing information about processes and basic daily functions in a visual, coherent, timely and regular manner.”

It is used to improve and maintain performance and should display performance data and goals in highly visible locations.

The benefits include:

  • Clear, simple visuals of production status
  • Improved communication
  • Improved response to abnormalities
  • Increased scrap/waste awareness
  • Cultural change assistance

Ensure visual controls are updated regularly.

Craig lists types of visual controls and their purposes.

  • Storyboards
  • Sightboards
  • Maps
  • Kanbans
  • Checklists
  • Indicators, Color Codes
  • Alarms

You can view Craig’s video here.

Manik Sood, Operational Excellence Specialist, defines it as:

“A business management technique that makes important information available to all.” It presents information in an easy to understand way by using visual signals.

Applied appropriately, in the visual workplace, the 5W1H of an area will be easily known. Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How.

Manik recommends that visual management be done with standard signs and specific colors. He presents several examples. You can view Manik’s video here. 

In an Industry Week article from 2016, Dan Markovitz, President of Markovitz Consulting discusses the three reasons visual management boards fail and how to prevent that.

  • The right mindset/culture to support the boards hasn’t been established
  • There are no standards for people’s work
  • No decisions have been made as to what processes and improvements will be measured.

You can read Dan’s article here. 

Finally, it is instructive to visit the site of a company who provides visual management products and consulting. Clarity Visual Management, a UK-based company discusses:

  • What is Visual Management?
  • Why use it?
  • Examples
  • Benefits

Access Clarity Visual Management here.