Visible Problems Get Solved

29 March 20120

Was it rude to fill a Material Controller’s office with boxes of problem parts waiting for his resolution? Not if you subscribe to a school of thought called “Management by Eye.” Making the invisible visible and reducing the complex to simple opens the door to a world of self-regulating work-flows designed to meet customer demand. It is so easy for people to let problems slip to the side in the press of daily demands. “Tomorrow, I’ll get to it tomorrow.” And then tomorrow slips into next week and then next month. Problems fester and cause grief. Management-by-eye challenges us to design work in such a way that variations to the daily flow of work are immediately visible to everyone walking by so that action will be taken to resolve issues.
“One-step management.” Imagine if you could stand in one place at your business and look to your right and left and know immediately the status of the operations. This was the case at a high volume air conditioning plant I once work in. All the material along the assembly line was pulled back and arranged below shoulder height so that nothing could hide along the line. Feet prints were actually painted on the floor to designate where to stand to view the operations. It was impressive. Squarely placed pallets of material, racks filled with no empty spaces of shortages, people moving up to the assembly line with orchestrated precision all showed that the material was flowing smoothly. To the other side was a large board listing work centers in the shop with red and green lights indicating if there were any problems. Standing on the foot prints in the factory was like standing in a control room full of gauges. By looking, you knew the state of the operations.
The first step is to create orderliness in your operations. This is accomplished through a strategy called 5-S; sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain. Mouse over “Kaizen Forms” for your copy of a 5-S tutorial and a a 5-S assessment form. Make your priorities physically visible and watch the improvement.

Keep adding value,
Alden B.
E-BITS …thoughts of increasing value

Comments are closed.