Visual management is quality management. A statement that I now use amlost everywhere. The idea behind this statement is very simple: Visualize something and you will instantly recognize what is not running smoothly.
Inventory & Visual Management – How to reduce high Inventory Levels (Part I)
For example: One-piece-flow instead of buffering or inventory. Buffer should not be included in the production as it is a barrier to best manage the process. Buffering blurs the reality. But when it comes to the removal of buffer, you often get bombarded by claims:
“That’s out of the question”,
“It is better for the worker to have buffer”.
Thereupon I dispose the sceptics to carry out the process without the buffer. The renewed run reveals that the process falters. It does not seem to run smoothly. My counterpart feels confirmed in his previous statement.
Essentially the process already faltered before, as no changes took place within the individual process stages. We just removed the buffer. Hence, what is the reason for this obvious faltering process?
Methods of Lean Production
Visual Management for best Inventory Control
The point is that both processes were not coordinated ideally. Now that the process was visualized, the elimination and the precise tackling of the problem was made possible. Likewise revealed by the graphic: The reduction of the water level, which symbolizes the stocks in the production, causes more and more crags to appear.
The inflated water level literally serves as protection for the production, so that the process keeps running, despite of the lavishness. Nevertheless, when the inventory is reduced so far that the crags can be seen, the necessity to eliminate the waste becomes obvious.
All in all one must bear in mind: The clearer the process is visualized, the better you realize the production of waste. With this realization the fundament for a more precise handling of the origin of a problem is created.