Visual Management Boards – An Essential Lean Office Tool

When I enter an office environment, one of the first things I do is look for visual management boards. Visual Management boards come in all sizes and shapes but they all serve a key function. They allow employees to quickly and easily access up-to-date information about their work environment. They can be as simple as a “Who is in right now?” board with employees names showing who is working that day. However, they can be as complex as you need.

Here at uttana, we use several of these daily. We have a board that shows what tasks each employee is working on throughout the day. We use a simple green, yellow or red magnet to show if we are on time or falling behind. This let’s everyone know if someone is falling behind so they can jump in and lend a hand.

For our video production, we use another board that shows where each video is in the process. Has it been researched, scripted, storyboarded, filmed or edited? These sort of visual management boards provide a clear image of where each project is and whether it is on schedule.

There is not a universal code for visual management boards. The picture on the right is from a company that needed to keep better track of its engineering projects so they built a visual management board that fit their needs.

Here are some important questions to consider when building a Visual Management Board for your office:

  • What work is being done and by whom?
  • How will you show if a project is ahead of schedule, on time, or falling behind?
  • What information needs to be shared with those doing the work?
  • How can you best illustrate that information in a way that everyone understands?

 

If the information on the Visual Management Board is not immediately understandable, consider redesigning or adding a legend or key to explain it. A Visual Management Board is only useful if everyone can access and understand the information.

Finally, Visual Management only works if everyone participates. These sorts of systems need to be maintained or they will lose their effectiveness. If you have a board showing who is in and out, make sure that it is updated with the most current information. Without regular use, employees will not be able to trust the information displayed on the board.

You can learn more about Visual Management with our Visual Management Video Series, available here.

September 30, 2014

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