If Takt time is the heart of the lean production system, visual controls form the nervous system of the lean management system. Takt time controls the pulse of operations and visual controls provide the vital health information of the system.
Lean is an improvement tool and the status of every process should be visible in lean management. Visual controls make it easier to compare the actual performance vs expected or standard performance of each process.
There are multiple ways to develop and deploy the visual controls however those must necessarily be deployed at the pointing data generation and should be visible from a distance of 10 feet’s , must be color coded , legible and most importantly live. It is necessary for leaders to understand the purpose of visual controls, what are we tracking ,why are we tracking and leaders must commit themselves to actions in response to performance data and follow through actions. It’s also essential for leaders to understand that visual controls are not for micromanaging the operators that are operating the processes but it is to micromanage the process. Thus it is mandatory to involve the operators in designing the visual controls for his area. Operators have to own the data and charts. He must get the confidence that the control is being used to resolve the issues he is facing and it is a tool for him to assign improvement actions to his supervisor and not otherwise.
In many cases visual displays take a predominance over the control but it is important to understand that visual displays are informative , educational stuff , warning signs , reminders and most importantly static while visual controls are live and provide information of current process performance.
As leaders understand the visual controls and put them in use for improvement , it starts to provide him with the vital parameters of the health of the process.
Keep practicing , Enjoy and if you don’t have visual controls in your area start now !!