A manufacturing facility is often a chaotic and loud place to be, so it’s critical to have non-verbal systems in place for instruction and safety. Cranes might whiz overhead or loaded forklifts may suddenly drive by, all while you are trying to communicate issues to your employees who are wearing earplugs and other PPE! Visual management in manufacturing is a must for your growing business.
Benefits of Visual Coding
Clearly visible graphic and light queues can communicate to everyone without words what action is happening or needs to happen at any given time.
It also benefits your plant in other ways:
- Gives clear and explicit instruction in a challenging environment
- Increases worker safety and awareness
- Manufacturing processes can increase in efficiency
- Output increase because of more effective workflows
- Clearly defined expectations for responders to issues
Color coding is one of the most basic visual concepts that relays information. Take a stoplight, for example. The red signal is stop, the yellow is a caution signal that a change is about to occur, and green, of course, is go. Color coding is used to indicate different stages of an issue and is an easily identifiable signal of what needs to happen next.
You can use color coding for many things on the manufacturing floor. It is possible to track the stage of a project or product from conception to shipment. Or you can color code the severity of an issue impacting the production process.
Andon systems are one form of color-coded controls. Andon is a visual system that generates an immediately noticeable status and communicates directly to first responders. It involves a multi-tiered system at workstations in the manufacturing areas using either buttons or touch screens within easy reach of the worker.
If a complication arises, the system is activated and the Andon system generates a visual alert that slows or stops production at that station until the problem is addressed and production can continue.
The Kamishibai Board is a tool that’s generated an increasing amount of interest in lean manufacturing concepts since its inception at the Toyota Production System. It utilizes a red and green card system to indicate the status of certain tasks that need to be completed to ensure quality control, workplace functions, and cleanliness.
The concept is simple. A task is designated for each card in a given work area. Red side up means the task is not complete or needs attention. Green side up means the task is complete.
Floor Markers and Wall Signage
These are the traffic cops of your manufacturing plant. They show you clear, marked paths on the manufacturing floor where you can move safely.
Health and safety managers use signage on walls, machines, cabinets, just about anywhere with instructions to keep your teammates safe in any situation. Aisles and hallways can be clearly marked with products, tools, supplies, or directions to another area.
Quality Control Signage
Having a large visual standard of quality signage helps your teammates “self-check” to ensure that the product is up to expected standards. A visual check of each step to the production process will help your manufacturing processes determine defects quickly and easily, ultimately controlling and reducing quality checks down the line.
Manufacturing can be a multifaceted industry. However, visual management systems can help your factory increase both productivity and safety. To learn more about these processes and how to improve your systems, contact VersaCall for a consultation.