In a visual workplace, visual devices are positioned at the point of use, giving employees instant access to the critical
information they need, right when they need it. Visuals can easily be understood at a glance, eliminating the wasted
downtime that had previously been spent searching, asking, or waiting for information. This model can greatly improve
your productivity, cost, quality, on-time delivery, inventory and equipment reliability.
Creating a visually instructive work environment is the foundation of any successful lean manufacturing initiative.
Take a look at some visual workplace examples
in this FREE guide:
In her book Visual Workplace, Visual Thinking, Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth states that effective implementations of visual workplace systems have resulted in the following dramatic improvements:
70% cut in materials
60% decrease in floor space
80% decrease in flow distance
68% reduction in rack storage
45% decrease in number of forklifts
12% decrease in engineering
50% decrease in annual physical
96% decrease in defects
The impact that visuals can have on productivity, cost, quality, on-time delivery, inventory and equipment reliability is truly enormous.
Companies are often surprised to learn that only a fraction of their activities actually add value for their customers. It’s not uncommon that 50% or more of a facility’s activities are considered waste! A primary cause of waste is information
deficits – employees simply lack the knowledge they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. To find the information they need, employees oftentimes waste valuable time and motion searching, waiting, retrieving, reworking… or just plain giving up!
One of the primary reasons plants around the world have implemented a visual workplace
is because of the benefits it offers for knowledge acquisition among employees. Because employees tend to learn by seeing, workplace visuals can play an important role in job training. Visuals make it easier for employees to do their jobs and get their tasks done on time, with fewer mistakes and less stress.
Just in Time (JIT) System
Think of visuals on the shop floor as a just-in-time system that provides
critical information exactly when and where you need it!
The lean manufacturing system is often represented as a house. The roof depicts the major objectives; the left pillar represents the tools used to speed and smooth the flow of production; and the right pillar represents the tools used to detect errors and prevent defects.
The foundational concepts, including visual workplace, establish a base of operational stability and a work culture dedicated to continuous improvement.
Visuals reinforce standards and highlight abnormalities. This is especially important during the initial phase of lean when companies are using concepts such as 5S, Standard Work, and Total Productive Maintenance to create a base of operational stability.
A continuously improving work environment is a constantly changing one. Gains from A continuously improving work environment is a constantly changing one. Gains from 5S Workplace Organization, Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) and other lean activities will disappear unless the new best practices are embedded in the workplace.
Visuals ensure lean improvements remain clearly visible, readily understood, and consistently adhered to long after the kaizen improvement event is over – and prevent employees from reverting to old habits.