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Visual Management

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In the workplace there are often signs and notices put up by owners and managers but how many of them are read by the staff and what purpose do they really serve?

Working with the Japanese specialists in Kaizen, continuous improvement, I learnt and witnessed the true power of what to put on a wall for all the team to see.   In Kaizen it’s called ‘Visual Management’ and it’s a key part of the success of the famous Toyota ‘Just in Time’ Production System.  How it’s applied is that at each workstation in the factory there is a notice-board regularly updated with the team’s targets, how doing against these measures, plus other updated team performance indicators and customer satisfaction.  Updated daily – sometimes even hourly – the team can see exactly how their work is contributing to the overall production efficiency and their part in helping the company and customers.  Plus, progress towards any personal bonuses.

I’ve applied these same principles to many different businesses and it’s been amazing to see how people respond once they know what’s going on and how their doing.  For instance, in sales offices having displayed how many customers each salesperson is currently dealing with, who they are and when they should be contacted next, dramatically improved the sales team’s performance.  Just know that they were going to be asked about their activities and everyone else seeing the level of activity really upped their game.

Similarly in a garage workshop, showing the technicians on a daily basis the hours sold, hours worked and parts sales against the team target and bonus, had a massive effect on the team achieving its monthly target.  Also, showing the number of jobs coming back into the garage for re-work focused everyone on driving this number down.

In ActionCOACH we encourage the team to know the key numbers such as Average Dollar Sale, Conversion Rate, Number of Leads and Margins weekly.  What better way to encourage improvements than to have a whiteboard in clear site of the team with this updated daily/weekly.  

Afterall, what’s seen and known about, gets acted upon.

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