One foundation of the TPS is to enable a “visual factory.” Let Kanban Systems (a process that limits overbuilding or builds just what is needed when needed) tell a process when to build and when to stop. A clean shop allows oil leaks to be spotted faster and initiate a maintenance activity to prevent down time. Being able to see an operation and all the contributing factors is essential for a successful continuous improvement strategy. When I was working with these methodologies I didn’t truly understand how essential they were in gaining cooperation and understanding for change and improvement. My understanding has grown, having worked with several different companies applying these “visual strategies.” When an effective visual communication strategy is integrated into the work process, enabling collaboration within the work activities, significant process improvements are achieved. The integration of visual communication into a business process enables a new level of performance and the process becomes more inclusive despite any geographic barriers. It allows executives, managers and employees to “see” their business well beyond the factory floor, both into the supply chain and into the customer’s applications. It is perhaps the most effective counter measure to the “eighth deadly waste” that Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo allude to: the untapped creativity of all the employees in the company and in the supply chain.
About the Author: John Paul Williams, TANDBERG Market Development manager, Manufacturing & Energy industries, is an experienced global operations executive leading innovations in manufacturing, quality and engineering. He has been a successful senior quality officer implementing Lean Manufacturing & Six Sigma methods, including developing strategic sourcing partnerships that increased competitive advantage. One of the plants he managed was the sole winner of the North American Shingo Prize for Manufacturing Excellence. Please contact John Paul Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. TANDBERG is a global provider of telepresence, high-definition videoconferencing and mobile video products and services with dual headquarters in New York and Norway. www.tandberg.com.