Visual Work – Part 2

Visuality Encompasses All Lean Concepts
Visual workplace techniques represent a critical component of lean concepts, including 5-S, standard work, Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), just-in-time (JIT) inventory management and kanban-based pull production. Here are some ideas on how visual devices can be put to profitable use in your lean initiatives.

5-S workplace organization: This technique focuses on sorting, cleaning and organizing to set the foundation for a stable work environment. Visual devices help maintain long-term visual order by clearly identifying aisles, storage areas and locations for equipment, tools, parts and products. Visuals such as bin markers, floor marking tapes, shadow boards and tool ID labels ensure that items are consistently returned to their proper place, eliminating wasted search and retrieval time.

Standard work and quick changeover: Visual tools ensure that workers readily understand proper setup, operating and inspection procedures. Instead of just storing information in binders and computer drives, post critical information clearly right at the point of use. In mixed work environments, use color-coding to identify the proper parts and tools for the job at hand. You’ll simplify training, prevent mistakes, reduce cycle times and improve safety.

Total Productive Maintenance: Identifying abnormalities at a glance is a key objective of TPM. Once equipment has been center-lined, visual devices such as multi-color gauge labels and oil level indicators can clearly indicate when operating conditions are out of spec. Visual devices also help machine operators perform autonomous maintenance tasks by clearly identifying preventive maintenance (PM) points and indicating the correct use of grease and lubricants.

JIT and kanban: A key goal of lean is to eliminate excess inventory. The concepts of just-in-time inventory management and kanban-based pull production help achieve these goals by ensuring that product is produced only in the time and amount needed. Visual reorder indicators control stocking levels for inventory, and kanban cards are used to prevent excess production.

Lean metrics and management: Open communication is a hallmark of a lean business. Employees need to know what is expected of them and how they’re performing. Visual displays such as scoreboards, scheduling charts, team communication boards and recognition displays all help to keep information flowing between employees, work, departments and upper management.

Make Your Own Visuals
The right printing system can be an essential tool for creating a visual workplace, allowing you to make signs, labels, tags and more on demand. Two printers popular among lean and visual workplace practitioners include Brady’s versatile benchtop GlobalMark printer and the portable HandiMark printer. Some of their benefits include:

  • Simple and fast: Eliminate cutting, drawing and preparing visual devices by hand. Visuals are quickly and easily designed on computer, then printed and automatically cut to size.
  • Print on demand: No time wasted placing orders or waiting for visuals to be delivered from outside vendors.
  • Economical: Create customized visuals for significantly less than those produced at sign shops or commercial printers.
  • Professional: Create sign-shop-quality visuals that are easy to read at a glance. Eliminate amateurish drawings and hard-to-read handwriting.
  • Durable: Brady thermal transfer printers provide better abrasion, moisture, chemical and UV resistance than inkjet or laser printing. Moreover, visuals stick and stay stuck to even curved and textured surfaces like pipes, walls and floors.
  • StandardizedUser-customizable templates promote consistency and ensure that visual devices used by different groups and sites have the same look and formatting.
  • Colorful: Multiple color capability adds impact and clarity to visual markers.

Whichever lean tools you use, visual thinking can reinforce and sustain improvements throughout your plant. There’s much to be gained by creating a workplace where employees are guided by visual information that tells them at a glance what to do, how to do it properly, and where to quickly find what they need. The accompanying boost in productivity, quality, capacity, on-time delivery and equipment reliability will make your facility leaner than ever.

Tool for implement the visual workspace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *