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“Visual Management” – Learn from the Origin.【The Quote of Taiichi Ohno】

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"Visual Management" - Learn from the...

What is “Visualization”? Considering this “Visualization” from the words of Taiichi Ohno, the creator of the Toyota Production System, the true meaning of the original “Visualization” can be seen.

(Duration: 5:21)

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What’s the Origin of Visual Management?

Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma Black Belt.

I received a second video request. I like receiving these requests. Thank you so much! The request is:

“Mike, can you present a video about visual management of daily and monthly production goals?”

Viewer's Request

Visual Management, or as some people call it: “Visual Control”, is today’s topic.  The concept of Visual Management came from the Toyota Production System in Japan, just like other words, such as “Muda”, or “Kaizen”.  Its translation in Japanese is “Mieruka”.  Unlike the other Japanese words, since “Mieruka” sounds difficult to remember, English speakers don’t use that word, but use “Visual Management” instead.

Some people, however, misunderstand its meaning.  For example, they may think making diagrams or charts and putting them on the walls is Visual Management, but that is a small part of it.  Let’s look at a quote by the father of the Toyota Production System, Taiichi Ohno about Visual Management.

Taichi Ohno's Quote


Translated by Mike Negami (2016/5/10

Visual Management is the utmost foundation of the Toyota Production system.

Let’s see Ohno’s quote again:

If a workplace is dirty and untidy, you can’t achieve “everybody can see what’s happening clearly”.  Right there, you need 5S: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.

Next is “Regarding quality, you have to always bring defects to the surface, so they can be seen at a glance”.  He is talking about “Jidoka: Built-In Quality”, which is when any problem occurs, all production lines will be stopped.

“Regarding quantity, maintain logistics, so you can always see whether it’s ahead of or behind your plan, at a glance.”   This is referring to “Just-In-Time”, which is about producing “only necessary items, when you need them and in necessary amounts”.

If you practice these thoroughly, “any issues are discovered promptly, so everyone can think of improvement ideas.”  In other words, “you are achieving Kaizen, continuous improvement.”  As you saw, Visual Management is the foundation of the Toyota Production System.

Therefore, making pretty charts or graphs is not Visual Management.  Maintaining a workplace where you can see any events or things that may tend to be hidden is Visual Management.

Making charts or graphs, however, is NOT a bad thing.  Actually it’s a powerful tool for Visual Management.  Clarifying why and what you’re trying to accomplish with those charts is an absolute precondition to using them.  I talked about this in detail in the ‘Basic of Data Analysis’ video. Click this link to watch the video.

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“Visual management of daily and monthly production goals”

Now let’s see the viewer’s request again:  “Visual management of daily and monthly production goals”  I’m an expert in service operation improvement, so I’ll show you some other helpful examples:

In a wholesale company, their procurement personnel decided purchase quantities based on each purchaser’s experience and intuition.  They were struggling with having other people doing back up or taking over current purchasers, so they got a new system to visualize each product’s sales and current inventory, then the system generated purchase quantity suggestions automatically.  They now have standardization and have achieved Just-In-Time to purchase “only necessary items, when you need them and in necessary quantity”.  Surprisingly, this kind of system can be developed with Excel.

Incidentally, I’ll make videos about the topics mentioned today: “5S”, “Jidoka: Built-In Quality” and “Just-In-Time”, in future.

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Today I talked about Visual Management.

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