Visual Management Development

  • Visual Management (VM) is a graphical way to communicate operational performance, standards, warnings and expectations without requiring significant explanation.
  • As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
  • The more we can simplify information to help people understand performance and critical to success process aspects without having to stop and read detailed procedures, the more likely we are to ensure quality and continuous improvement.
  • There are many effective tools for the job. Finding the right tool for your environment is key.
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  • How can you make your operational area(s) more informative to the user?
  • Have you determined where you most need to implement Visual Management?
  • Who needs to be involved in the implementation and upkeep efforts?
  • Have you identified the biggest opportunity of information deficits and the type of information that is missing? What is the consequence of this missing information?
  • Is your business following a well documented set of color-coded standards consistently throughout all facilities (i.e. floor marking, signage, labeling, hazardous storage, warehousing, etc.)?
  • Is information understandable, concise, accurate, relevant, and accessible to everyone, especially front-line team members?
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Glass Wall metric boards are visual displays of key operational metrics. Placed in the ideal location for all to view, these are used to share performance over time and to highlight key improvement efforts.

Shadow Boards are physical displays of tools and other resources required for the operation. They are posted as close as possible to the source and show the tool, its purpose and proper storage condition.

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Statistical Process Control (SPC) is a measurement system which offers real-time feedback on whether the process is in or out of control. If out of control, the SPC chart enables team members to quickly respond and address the root cause.

Kanban and Flow Racks are used in Lean operations to simplify the provision of the right supplies to the operations team at the right time. When you have a predictable and fairly high-volume use of supplies, Kanban bins stored on easy flow racks can keep the team working without wasting time searching. Proper set up ensures inventory is maintained at correct levels without the cost of excess inventory. In the world of project management, Kanban techniques are used to identify work buckets that can be selected by the team as the next right bucket to start.

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Andon techniques are used as part of a visual management approach to make it both visible and audible when a team is ‘stuck’ and requires assistance. Typically lights installed at the operation will turn yellow and then red as the team experiences barriers limiting their ability to operate. When linked with an audible noise and a support team set up, Andon systems are used to ensure work stoppages are limited in frequency and duration by prioritizing the producing operations to receive support above all other activities.

FMEA Failure Modes and Effects Analysis is used by teams of experts to identify failure or potential failure modes, causes of failure modes and controls which could prevent failure from occurring. There are two specific versions of these known as PFMEA (process FMEA) and Design/Product FMEA. Process FMEAs are used to identify how a process could or has failed. Design/Product FMEAs are used before the launch of a new product or service to identify potential failure modes and address these in the design.

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Layered Process Audits (LPA)_and Auditing boards show the results of verification checks designed to ensure the process is following required steps safely and with acceptable results. Layered Process Audit boards make visible the results of these checks and show progress. When used in concert with customer requirements, they ensure the operational team continuously operates the process to meet customer and safety requirements. They are not owned by quality personnel; they are owned by the leadership team and the team which performs the operation. An environment welcoming LPAs reflects a culture which prioritizes quality.

5S signs and color coded areas are methods used to create and sustain a well organized work environment where standard work instructions are followed, equipment and steps are visible and easily understood by visitors and new employees and safe work practices are sustained. Typically standard work instructions are developed first and then 5S can be deployed to sustain safe and excellent processes and outputs.

Standard Work Instructions is a simplified way of documenting standard operating procedures which show with pictures and words the key steps, equipment, safety and regulatory standards as well as physical layout of a particular operation. They are used in training and updated whenever process steps change as well and are posted in an easily accessible location as close to the work as possible.

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Preventative Maintenance To ensure preventative maintenance and regular maintenance occur on schedule, PM Boards can be used to show maintenance issues which must be addressed as well as those that have been performed. To go beyond a PM program is to strive for an Autonomous Maintenance process, that is 1) Initial cleaning and inspection of equipment, 2) Elimination of sources for contamination and any inaccessible areas, 3) Establishment of maintenance standards using a plan, do, check, act cycle.

Safety KPI Board Displays show days since last accident, type of incident and actions taken to reduce the possibility of this incident in the future. Cultures serious about safety often choose to add ‘near misses’ to identify and address potential future problems.

Problem: A small industrial manufacturer was missing shipments to their customers and the alarm bell was rung by the leadership team. A kaizen event was conducted, and the root cause analysis determined machine downtime was a key contributor. Fortunately for the company, the new maintenance leader had experience with Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). The following actions had to be taken immediately to solve the missed shipment issue and caused the company to develop a more long-term TPM process:

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Problem: A small industrial manufacturer was missing shipments to their customers and the alarm bell was rung by the leadership team. A kaizen event was conducted, and the root cause analysis determined machine downtime was a key contributor. Fortunately for the company, the new maintenance leader had experience with Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). The following actions had to be taken immediately to solve the missed shipment issue and caused the company to develop a more long-term TPM process:

A 5S event highlighting sort, straighten and shine was conducted

  • The event drove the team to focus on proper lubrication and filter monitoring on required equipment
  • Daily, weekly and yearly “check up” steps were established on critical maintenance items
  • Operators and Management were trained on the key leading indicators of machine failure and how they are linked to the check ups
  • Machine cycles were monitored, and uptime became a KPI for that process.
  • A preventative maintenance schedule was created by the maintenance team

Results:

The Preventative Maintenance (PM) schedule was created; however the company could not afford a stand-alone PM system. The company had to get creative! The maintenance team utilized their existing Outlook software to execute the PM system. Using the “task” function, schedules were created for each machine and stored in Outlook with automated reminders popping up to require check-off when complete. Operators were trained to use a set standard following the activities identified during the 5S event to create an autonomous maintenance system. The new PM schedule and the operator and front-line leader autonomous maintenance system eliminated the machine downtime category on the missed shipment pareto.