Visual Management (VM) refers to the presentation of information in a way that enables everyone to recognize current status within 30 seconds. Visual management may capture information on productivity, status of deliveries, timing of events, or quality standards. The main purpose of VM is sharing information.
The use of visual management supports quick assessment of tasks, tools, and resources to allow workers to save time. Common examples include organization systems to ensure all tools are accounted for and stored properly, colors to convey systems (e.g., red is hot water and blue is cold water) or providing markings to show walking paths and material flow.
How Visual Management Works
- Develop standard visuals across projects, so team members can easily adapt.
- Use daily huddles to update visuals.
- Use colors for consistent info (such as days of the week or which crew is responsible for specific tasks)
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Visual management can take several forms or topics. It uses processes, charts, or diagrams to capture and share information. Focus on the key areas for ensuring work is progressing – production, materials, and schedule. Keep the visuals simple and take suggestions for improving them as they are used.
- Visualize targets on a large screen to ensure that everyone knows what’s important.
- Bring clarity to the team through visualization, creating a shared path towards business goals.
- Use too many words to transfer the data.
- Enhance the flow of information.
- Increase transparency, resulting in self-control.
- Broaden employee participation and create shared ownership.
- Increase effective communication.
- Adopt a mindset of continuous improvement.
- Build common understanding
- Save time
- Recognize where help is needed
- Improve accountability
- Improve performance
- Provide real-time updates
- Book: 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace: The Sourcebook for 5S Implementation, by Hiroyuki Hirano.
- Book: Visual Workplace/Visual Thinking, by Gwendolyn D. Galsworth.
- Book: Transforming Design and Construction: Chapter on Visual Management.