Who can apply Visual Management?
- Visual Management may be applied in any establishment; be it- Manufacturing or service companies, government offices, educational institutions, non-profit associations. It is gaining popularity in Life Sciences, Healthcare, Education and Banking sectors.
- Visual Management works well for big and small set ups.
- Visual Management is exceptionally beneficial to Startups.
- Visual Management may be applied to technical as well as non-technical or business processes.
- Visual Management works well for regulated as well as non-regulated sectors.
Examples of Visual Management:
A gadget placed near the boarding pass kiosk must be tried out to judge if your cabin luggage is of the permissible size allowed in the plane’s overhead baggage locker. This check prevents over-size cabin bags from getting onto the aircraft, thus, improving boarding process efficiency.
An example of Visual Management in daily life is a flashing red light (and siren) of an approaching ambulance or a police car which informs everyone around to stay clear and give them priority on the road.
Visual Management begins by making the work visible. Visibility provides transparency of work as well as ease of understanding tasks ‘to be done’.
As a shopper, would you not like to visit that store again?
Visual Management Tools:
All Visual Management tools comprise of two parts- Visual Metrics and Visual Control.
The choice of tools depends on the organizational size, culture, product mix and geographical locations. Best results are usually obtained when 10 to 20 tools are used in synchronicity.
Visual Management tools aim to do one or more of the following:
- Share information.
- Communicate standards.
- Enforce and monitor the standards.
- Bring attention to deviations and/or irregularities.
- Augment CAPA (Corrective Action Preventive Action).
How can I use Visual Management at my workplace?
Let me take an example of traffic or stop lights. Red color for ‘stop’, Orange for ‘caution’ and Green to ‘go’ is a universal sign language. Now if you were to use this traffic-light color code in a project Gantt Chart or a RACI Matrix, it will provide instant understanding of the project status; no query calls and no back-n-forth emails …
This color coding in project charts is exceptionally helpful for decision-makers and project teams alike situated at different locations or working remotely via cloud or those in a multi-cultural workplace as in a multi-national company.
A popular example of Visual Management in manufacturing setups are Andon lights. Andon lights are useful in automated as well as automatic processes. A flashing red Andon light on a production belt means that the line is held up. It draws attention so that someone on the shop floor initiates to sort out the problem and re-start operations.
Another example of Visual Management is ‘Activity Board’ that depicts task status as- Doing, Done, To Do, New Ideas, On Hold etc. Traditionally Activity Boards used to be hand-written. However, now there are digital ones too.
Activity Boards have proven to be exceptionally beneficial to improve process efficiencies impacting- Product launches, product delivery, idea management for innovation projects, increasing sales, training and employee engagement, improving customer satisfaction etc.
They are extremely useful in both manufacturing and service-based organizations.
Next time when you go to pick-up your car at a service center, do checkout for their Activity Board. It is usually displayed on the right side of the service representative's desk. The information displayed there tells you a whole lot about their work style, processes and how good or bad an experience you would get while dealing with them.
Five signs your organization needs Visual Management:
- There is slow progress towards achieving strategic objectives.
- Your company deals in complex projects.
- Stalled work-in-progress happens often at workplace.
- There are frequent bottlenecks and/or poor capacity planning.
- Your company has multi-locational distributed teams.
Make Visual Management a part of your business, improve process efficiency and watch your business grow year-on-year despite adverse market dynamics.
The purpose of Visual Management is to improve communication at an organization. And excellent communication is the master key to good employee collaboration leading to smoother workflows.
Visual Management is not just a signage, furniture, or a label. It makes your workplace alive- Because it speaks!
To introduce Visual Management technique in your organization, start with process mapping. Then identify areas of implementation based on communication touch points. Make sure that Visual Management at your workplace evolves as you develop a deeper appreciation of stronger teamwork, workflows, product offerings and business landscape. Also do conduct a dry run before its full-scale implementation …
Note that there are eighteen such awesome proven process improvement techniques; learn more here. And I will see you again with yet another topic on how to improve operational efficiency at your organization.