An interesting method to mention when seeking how to improve production within a company is visual management, a Lean tool that helps with the standardization of processes through different communication media that are visually appealing and simple to understand.

It is an effective way to simplify communication. Thanks to this technique, we can easily separate and emphasize the most important information. This does not imply that the rest is forgotten, but rather that, through the special and more prominent signaling of certain tasks, we manage to create a more direct impact of these, as they are more relevant and essential.

It is the best way to standardize activities and keep everyone involved up to date with progress, as well as any updates. The key is knowing how to communicate information in a few words and make ads that are eye-catching and easy to understand.

Currently, we receive a lot of visual information, not only because it is faster to communicate, but also because it creates a direct impact on people. This is the peculiarity of visual management: communicating information easily and clearly.

When a visual management complement is added, with clear images and precise indications, repeat work and waste are avoided, and the learning process and operation times are also accelerated. This avoids having to review the manuals.

A clear example of how this technique helps you can be the incorporation of a new operator to an assembly line. The veterans of the team will perfectly know the tasks and responsibilities of their position or the specifications and how to use the machinery, but not the newcomer. A clear graphic with the main instructions on how to act will save time when communicating.

¿How is visual management applied in a production line?

This application is as useful as it is simple. In fact, we see several examples in everyday life. An obvious one is that of traffic signs. Based on its shape or its color, we know what kind of danger, obstacle, or limitation we are approaching, and we act accordingly.

Visual management is focused on guiding people to make correct decisions. However, there are specific situations in which this type of visual communication is vital to avoid errors in operational processes.

The main objectives of visual management in production lines are:

- Provide clear information.

- Ability to react quickly to problems.

- Standardize working methods.

- Measure progress and improvements of the operation.

- Ensure that process policies are met.

- Inform the most relevant data of each process.

- Keep all staff updated on new methodologies and strategies.

- Standardize the priorities of the operational process

- Detect process deviations

- Provide useful information through comparative tables and graphs

- Increase and improve communication between different areas

- Analysis of results.

- Security advice.

- Monitoring of quality control.

- Monitoring of results in production.

¿What information should be placed in visual management?

- Warnings and safety tips.

- Periodic results (daily, weekly, monthly).

- Clear and standardized objectives in each area.

- Prevention and correction actions.

- Warnings.

- Comparisons of productivity and quality.

- Location signs.

- Results indicators.

These are the elements that are most used in companies when applying visual management. In this way, the plant employees, and other sections, will have the necessary information to know what their task is, where the resources they need are, how the objectives are being achieved, where they should be more careful, where they should move, in other aspects.

 The tools for good visual management.

Signs in the hallways: Indicating the location, dangers, and other factors found in that aisle.

Lines on the ground: Indicating where people should move and where machines should move.

Achievement indicators: Where the objectives that are being achieved are shown, encouraging all workers to continue achieving more goals.

Monitor production: In this case, productivity is measured, hour by hour, every day, to find bottlenecks and implement measures to optimize them.

Operations control: Where the flow of operations, operation times and staff roles are monitored. This allows bottlenecks to be detected, to be solved and to continue advancing in continuous improvement.

Safety indications: The signs to indicate where there are dangers, emergency exits, areas with prohibited passage, etc. These visual signals will prevent accidents and, in the event of an accident, it indicates how to act.

Inventory indicator: This indicator shows how much inventory there is for each item, this way you make sure you don't run out of stock, and you don't need over-stock either.

Order and cleanliness tips: To keep work areas tidy and clean, signs indicating how the place should be are key. For example, for the order you can use labels in the place of each tool, so the hammer will always be in the same place.

Waste indicators: Any company should minimize its waste and losses. To modify something, the first thing is to measure it, and the waste indicators will provide you with information on current losses to minimize them.

Benefits of visual management.

The advantages of implementing visual management in the standardization of processes are many and you can see it in different parts of the company. We can use quality control tables, with which we can monitor various areas.

The most important is related to the control of operations. Through a record of roles and operation times, you can review productivity and make comparisons of it with that of past periods. In this we will highlight the results in different colors (green for progress, red when the desired numbers are not obtained) for the subsequent preparation of graphs and diagrams.

Visual information designs are also very useful to reduce production errors or possible accidents in the workplace. In these cases, easily interpretable drawings and graphs are frequently used, which you must place in the most appropriate areas and be clearly visible.

At LeanInn we help you implement visual management in your organization. In addition, we have programs and consultancies where you can learn from the entire process and obtain excellent results. Enter the following link:

 ¡We are your value and innovation initiative wherever you are!

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