Good visuals that help plan, schedule, organize and communicate information are an essential part of a lean environment. Recent studies show that as high as 83% of human learning occurs visually. Good visuals have a positive and sustainable impact on productivity, quality, equipment, reliability and employee engagement.
As a company that makes specialized magnetic whiteboards, Magnatag works with employees who are implementing lean programs in a variety of industries. Based on their experience, we have found there are some common characteristics of good visuals that make them successful in a lean environment including:
- They are easy to see: The human form of the HurtSpot safety board is eye catching and makes safety personal. Having your visuals located in the “right place” where people who need information can see it at a glance is important. Putting a safety awareness board in a break room or near a time clock helps drive your message home.
- They are engaging and easy to understand: Images like the HurtSpot board are self-explanatory and visually motivating. They grab everyone’s attention and encourage them to focus on working safely. The use of recognizable shapes and bright colors helps emphasize the message. Good visuals use universal symbols, images, color, size and position to communicate clearly in a lean environment.
- They are easy to use and maintain: This KPI Pyramid magnetic whiteboard is both simple and efficient. Employees post daily productivity information on the board with pens and magnets. The red and green magnets communicate from a distance while hand written results provide greater detail. Like a scoreboard, it keeps everyone informed. Unlike a computer, the board is always on and shares information with everyone 24/7.
Good visuals belong in a prime location and should share a clear message that is easy for everyone to understand. Complicated messages, overly busy graphics and highly detailed KPI’s can be hard to comprehend and are not as effective.
Good communication tools are important because they makes sure everyone is striving toward the same goal, whether it is safety, production rates or quality products. In an upcoming post, we will share a graphic showing what types of information are important to employees that will make your visuals more effective.
To find out more information about the examples in this post, please visit Magnatag Visible Systems website.
Mieruka: The Four Different Types of Lean Visuals with Examples
There are four main types of mieruka (visual control): informative, instructional, identification and planning. Here we discuss the purpose and definition of each category, and provide examples from Toyota’s factories and service oriented companies. Part 2 of a series on mieruka/visual control.
While Toyota is not against technology, they believe it still cannot completely replace the versatility and reliability of traditional, but reliable offline forms of planning. As a result, paper charts, reports and white boards are still a common sight around all Toyota entities, where they can be easily seen and modified.
The white board here shows a Gantt chart showing a project plan. Note that the lines used to designate period of a task is actually a sheet magnet cut into different lengths for this purpose.
Quick Summary Of Lean Visuals
- Definition: helps you to know what something is
- Forms seen: labels and stickers
- Definition: gives you important information in one area, to update status or situation
- Forms seen: information walls, charts, informative sheets and diagrams
- Definition: tells you how to perform a task
- Forms seen: work instructions, lines on floors, signs
- Definition: helps you to plan and let others to see what the plan is
- Forms seen: Gantt charts, white board walls
By Karn G. Bulsuk. Karn is a consultant with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, in organizations including the World Bank and Toyota. He has significant international experience, and has been based in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Japan and Australia, with experience in managing multicultural cross-border teams throughout the region.
How do you use lean visuals in your facility? Let us know in the comments section below!