Visual Management

Visual management is an important process which can help improve the safety and efficiency of many types of facilities.  What visual management is at its core is the idea that when people walk into a particular area they should be able to immediately be able to know some important pieces of information, even without being directly told.  The information conveyed could be things like where there are dangers, the types of dangers, available exits and many others as well.  When done properly, visual management will dramatically improve the safety of an area as well as help to save time for the facility.

Visual Management Problems

When attempting to implement a new visual management system, or improve on an existing one there are several different difficulties which are commonly experienced.  First, it does take effort to do properly.  Many people think that because the concept is fairly simple that it should also be quick and easy to put in place.  That is not always true, but it is well worth the effort.  Another issue is that it takes consistency to keep it functioning properly.  Many facilities have put great visual management strategies in place, but then after a few weeks or months they are no longer being updated or followed so there is no long term benefit.  Focusing on consistency should always be at the top of the list of priorities for this type of process.

free-safety-guidesVisual Management Tips

When starting any new visual management strategy it is important to follow these tips and tricks.  They will help ensure the implementation goes well and also that it keeps functioning properly long into the future.

  • Use Clear Signs – Wall and floor signs are two of the most widely used items when implementing visual management.  Make sure to take the time to review them carefully to ensure they convey the right message in a clear and easy to see way.
  • Implement Measurable Changes – Having the ability to measure the success or failure of the implementation is essential.  It will help guide future adjustments to the process as well as let everyone involved know how it is going.
  • Positive Reinforcement – Some parts of visual management, such as avoiding clutter in the work areas, will need ongoing effort from individuals working in each area.  Having a system of positive reinforcement can be the most effective way to ensure this is done consistently.
  • Standardize Everything – Whenever possible make sure the same standards are followed throughout the facility.  Using the same signage, color coding and other visual signals will help ensure there is no confusion.
  • Clear Benefits – Visual management can’t be successful without the support of each individual.  This is why listing the benefits everyone will enjoy is essential to the success of this process.

Each facility will have different requirements when it comes to visual management so a different set of strategies will be necessary.  It is important to take the time to plan out an effective strategy for both implementation and sustainability for this project to ensure it is a success.  Working with leadership as well as front line employees will help come up with great ideas as well as getting the necessary buy in from across the organization to ensure this process is a success.

Additional Resources