How does Visual Management help eliminate the (7/8) Wastes?

How does Visual Management

help elimate the (7/8) Wastes?

Lean as a concept in relation to manufacturing and operations is commonly defined as the “Continual pursuit of the elimination of Waste”.

At PEAK Visual Management we focus on supporting our clients by developing and designing manufactured solutions that establish the foundational tools of Lean. The foundational Lean tools we look to in guiding our service include: 5S Workplace Organisation and Visual Management. We believe it critical to have these fundamental Lean principles in place to begin to operate as a Lean organisation and begin the ongoing pursuit of eliminating waste.

So, what are the Wastes we are looking to eliminate and how does 5S Workplace Organisation and Visual Management help in the reduction of these wastes?

The wastes found in Manufacturing and Operational environments are most commonly separated into 8 key elements, often remembered by the acronym DOWNTIME or TIMWOODS, are: Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-utilised talent or Skills, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, and Excess processing.

So, how does 5S and Visual Management tools help in the pursuit of eliminating each of these wastes?


Visual Management Boards with Printed layout maps can be used to visualise and plot movement of goods or flow of processes help to ensure the most efficient routing. Carefully designed and positioned signage and floor markings provide visual cues and guidance to ensure deliveries or people arrive at the right place at the right time.


Using visuals that integrate colour coding and maximum/minimum level indicators help to provide control to levels of stock and the allowed output of processes. These indicators can also be used to provide a cue to positive action if shortages are about to be seen.


The implementation of 5S Shadow Boards provides workplace organisation and visual home locations for tools and parts reducing possible wasted time that operators might have to spend searching for a required tool, piece of equipment or part. Placing the shadow board at the point of use also reduces the motion required to retrieve equipment from hub or centrally based storage areas.


The use of an Andon system which alerts a central location of an issue in a cell or line location, ensures operators who are experiencing an issue receive a quick response from supporting functions or supervisors, meaning the time the operator is spent waiting is minimised.


Production or output targets communicated visually with a Visual Management board help to provide control of outputs and ensure processes are aligned with the requirement of the customer. Kanban systems help to control production by providing a visual instruction to produce more items, helping to align production with actual demand.


Process Maps or Value Stream maps made visible through Signage or Visual Management Boards help working teams to identify unnecessary steps in a process and summarise all actions and support the ability to break down into value and non-value adding, this allowing the non-value-added actions to be re-worked or addressed.


Quality and problem based Visual Management Boards such as Practical Problem-Solving Boards provide a platform for the tracking, investigation and resolution of issues related to defects. The enhanced visibility of the issues that the Visual Management provides helps to impart impetus to the resolution of these issues.


Ideas and suggestion parking spaces can be applied to Visual Management Boards, which encourage all team members to contribute ideas and suggestions for improvement which leverages the individuals’ unique talents and knowledge. Cross Training Matrices provide a visual representation of the skill levels within an organisation assigning tasks sensibly and indicating where team development needs to be prioritised.

So as the described examples express, by embracing and implementing 5S and Visual Management tools wasteful processes will be addressed and minimised within your organisation. PEAK VM work with a diverse portfolio of clients and sectors and have a proven track record of helping our clients reduce wasteful processes using 5S Workplace Organisation and Visual Management solutions.

10 Tips for a Successful Obeya Visual Management Meeting

10 Tips for a Successful Obeya

Visual Management Meeting

Peak Visual Management have developed, designed, and produced Visual Management boards that have made up many high performing Visual Management Centres, Obeya or War Rooms over the years.

From our background working as Engineers and Managers at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, as Lean consultants and working with our clients to develop and supply Visual Management Centres we have developed a strong understanding of how a successful stand-up Visual Management meeting should run.

There are some key behaviours and elements that are usually seen in a successful meeting and we thought it would be a good idea to share these in this blog. In no particular order:

1 . The person responsible for updating the board should do so before the meeting and keep updated in between meetings.

This is important as it ensures there isn’t wasted time during the meeting spent waiting whilst the responsible person updates the board. Some meetings can have large numbers of people in involved and those minutes wasted are amplified by the number of people in attendance.

2 . Prepare anything to be raised in the meeting beforehand and where possible make other relevant parties aware.

Good preparation means that it is more likely that facts and data will be discussed rather than opinions and theories improvised on the spot. People don’t like surprises and catching people off guard might cause upset or cause contention that will have a negative impact on the meeting and the mood of those involved.

3 . Respect the other meeting attendees.

Everyone at the meeting should be there to do their best and make a positive contribution. Undermining, criticising, interrupting, or making accusations will show a lack of respect that will damage the team ethos of a stand-up Visual Management meeting.

4 . Be punctual and plan to attend the whole meeting.

Arriving late or leaving the meeting early shows a lack of respect and understanding of the importance of the meeting. It can also cause interruption to the speaker and cause a distraction that can impact the quality of the discussion and any actions being agreed.

5 . No food or drink in the meeting.

It may seem trivial but everyone should be fully focussed on what is being said in the meeting. An efficient meeting should be concise in time so the urgency to grab a quick drink or eat breakfast shouldn’t be there as there is plenty of other available time during the day.

6 . Switch off phones or set to silent.

A phone ringing during a meeting is an interference it disrupts the flow of the meeting and interrupts the speaker. By and large most calls can wait for the short period of time that the meeting is taking up.

7 . Keep to the point and stick to facts.

By staying focussed on the subject matter at hand we minimise the risk of overrun of time by talking about matters not related to the point. Sticking to facts keeps the conversation constructive and professional and mitigates the chance of disagreements caused by using opinions and theories. Any discussions that are important but veer away from the subject at hand should be discussed outside of the meeting by the relevant parties.

8 . Make sure that issues are clearly defined, and actions are clear.

Issues that are added to the board should be understandable by all, such that if the whole team became unavailable for some unforeseen reason, a new team could step in, understand, and pick up the issue. The same applies for actions, they should be specific enough that someone can understand the exact next event taking place. These specific actions might form a longer chain that need to be enacted to resolve the issue.

9 . One person should speak at a time.

Everyone in a Visual Management stand-up meeting should have the opportunity to be heard. Ensuring only one person speaks at a time ensures no-one is undermined and there is less disruption to the flow and structure of the meeting.

10 . Make a note of actions to take away from the meeting.

Actions might be assigned during the course of the meeting; it is important that these are noted on the Visual Management Board by the assigned actioner so that progress can be made on the action before the next meeting so there is minimal slippage. There is no excuse to make progress against the action as the assignee will have agreed to the action at the meeting.

Top 5 Benefits of a Problem-Solving Visual Management Board

Top 5 Benefits of a Problem-Solving

Visual Management Board

Practical problem solving (or A3 Problem Solving) is a structured approach to problem solving and continuous improvement that I have been using since my time as a graduate engineer at Toyota Manufacturing UK. At Toyota we were encouraged to be able to clearly define and summarise the problem we were working through on a standardised A3 Template that can be pinned to a wall and presented. If the information couldn’t be presented on an A3 sheet then the information wasn’t clear or the problem not defined with enough clarity. The A3 Problem-Solving template included several key elements such as:

  • Containment actions: first things first, ensure the problem doesn’t reach the client.
  • Summary: what does the problem look like?
  • Ishikawa/Fishbone diagram: categorise where possible issues could arise, the causes that could affect the problem.
  • 5-Why Analysis: An iterative technique to arrive at the possible root cause.
  • Countermeasures: What actions need to be taken to ensure the problem doesn’t arise in the future?
  • Yokoten: Japanese phrase that translates to “best practice sharing”. Can the important learning be applied to other areas in the organisation to ensure the problem isn’t seen elsewhere in the future?

These key elements provide structure and guidance to the Problem-Solving process ensuring that Problem Solving is repeatable and is guided by logical processes and not by thought, theories or emotion.

I consider myself to be a vastly experienced expert in Visual Management and Lean techniques, who has extensive experience in developing and implementing Practical Problem-Solving Visual Management boards for our industrial clients to help them: drive Lean Continuous Improvement culture and deal with chronic issues. This experience has allowed me to shine light on the top 5 benefits of using a Visual Management Board to provide a platform for the Problem-Solving process.

1. Deal with facts and Data

Showcasing the Problem-Solving process in the Gemba (where the value creation work happens) with a Visual Management board helps to ensure that observable data is being used to guide the process.  It is because the Visual Management board (which is providing structure to the process) is in the place that the problem is happening that it is difficult for opinions and theories to come to the fore, as can happen in office-based discussions on “shop-floor” issues.

2. Encourage Lean Behaviours

Because the platform for the Problem-Solving is a Visual entity located in the Gemba it encourages the Japanese principle of Genchi Genbutsu or “go, look, and see for yourself”.  Invested stakeholders in the problem are encouraged to see any changes to condition and updates to the process in real-time in the Gemba.

3. Visibility and The Team

Repeat issues that are experienced by operators can wear away at a team and have a detrimental impact on the motivation and morale on the individuals in the workplace. Showcasing the process being used to eradicate these issues helps to show the team that an organisation values the wellbeing and morale of the team and desires to make their life better by driving Continuous Improvement through the solving of problems experienced by the team.

4. Create a Shift in Thinking

The visibility of the Problem-Solving Board in the workspace and the activity and actions that are displayed will assist in influencing the thought processes around how to deal with problems. Visually showcasing tools such as 5 Why and The Fishbone cause and effect diagram, helps to educate and influence team members on how to think about driving improvement and deal with issues in a more structed and logical manner. Creating a habit of problem-solving in the minds and actions of team members will ensure future sustainability and success.

5. Accountability

Using a Visual Management board to log actions, dates and ownership necessitates that individuals agree ownership of actions and dates in front of their peers. This means that these individuals are motivated to complete these actions and move the project forward so as not to let the team down.

As vastly experienced Lean professionals the PEAK VM founders, share our experience in Practical Problem-Solving with our clients, this sharing can range from advising simple tips and guidance on board usage through to full training packages.

The team and I at PEAK Visual Management not only have an extremely strong background in implementation of Lean and Visual Management techniques, but we are also expert Visual Management designers. We will ensure that the Problem-Solving design template is tweaked to function in the context of our clients’ working environment. We also ensure that the design is aesthetically professional and follows any corporate branding guidelines that might be in place.

As part of our process, we also provide market leading design support in providing 3D design visuals and full-scale paper prints which allow our clients to obtain buy in from their team and ensure key stakeholders remain involved in the design process.

The relatively minor investment involved with implementing a Visual Management Problem Solving board is likely to be recouped on completion of the first significant Problem-Solving project, making the ROI on this type of Visual Management high. The benefits formed in using a Problem-Solving Visual Management board elevate the performance of the Practical Problem-Solving process and make it an essential tool for fostering a culture of continuous improvement that will endure.

Safe Work is the Gate to all Work

Safety Arches from

Peak VM

Have you ever come across the quote……?

“Safe Work is ‘the gate’ to all work. Let us pass through this gate.” Eiji Toyoda

Words nearly as old as the Toyota Production System itself, first coined in a 1957 request to all employees by the then Senior Managing Director (Eiji Toyoda). This quote underscores the importance Safety plays in the foundations of an efficient and Lean business Operation.

So, how can we create a safe gate to all work?

Peak VM Health & Safety Archways make the ultimate highly conspicious, visual safety statement, that cannot be ignored. To see the options for Safety Archways click here: Safety Archway Options

Along with creating the ‘Impossible to Ignore Safety Visual’ the Safety Archways also provide a platform to communicate other key Safety information, vital in business:

  • Promote Safety Culture: A very visible commitment to safety at the entrance sets the tone for the entire facility. It demonstrates that safety is a priority for the organisation, encouraging a culture of responsibility and awareness among employees. It places responsibility to the individuals entering the areas of higher risk to act safely and responsibly to ensure the welfare of themselves and others.
  • Awareness & Reminders: Safety Archway signs act as constant reminders of potential hazards and safety protocols specific to the site. This helps create a safety-conscious culture among individuals entering the factory, reducing the likelihood of near-misses, accidents and injuries.
  • Legal Compliance: Displaying safety signs is often a legal requirement. Regulatory bodies and authorities such as the HSE, may require certain safety standards and the display of specific information in workplaces to ensure the well-being of workers and visitors. Compliance with these regulations helps avoid legal issues and penalties. Safety Archways provide the structure and visual platform for these standards and information to be displayed.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements: Information about the necessary personal protective equipment (such as hard hats, safety glasses, ear protection, etc.) can be clearly displayed on entry to higher risk areas using Safety Archways. This helps ensure that individuals entering the factory are aware of and adhere to the required safety gear, ultimately protecting themselves from harm.
  • Emergency Information: In the event of an emergency, having clear and visible safety information displayed at the entrance, using a Safety Arch can guide people on evacuation procedures, assembly points, and other critical information. This aids in a quick and organised response during emergencies.

PEAK Visual Management have supported many world class manufacturing organisations with the design and development of Safety Archways including Rolls Royce, to learn more about this project click here:

We have also recently completed a project for Global Fluid Handling company Celeros FT at their Glasgow Cathcart facility, to learn more about this project click here: FT Safety Arch

If you would like to discuss Safety Archways with us in more detail, please get in touch:

Thank you for reading!

We hope you will continue your Lean journey with us as Peak Visual Management.

How do Tool Shadow Boards help support 5S Workplace Organisation?

How do Tool Shadow Boards help support

5S Workplace Organisation?

PEAK Visual Management recently paid a visit to long standing client Safran Helicopter Engines in Fareham, Surrey. Whilst on site we were able to observe the 5S Visual Management Workplace Organisation solutions we have supplied them in action.

These solutions help Safran to Set, Standardise and Sustain their 5S workplace organisation processes.

5S Tool shadow boards play a crucial role in supporting 5S lean processes by providing a visual and organized way to manage tools and equipment within a workspace. The 5S methodology is a system for organising, standardising, and maintaining a clean, efficient workplace. The five S’s stand for Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Tool shadow boards contribute to several of these principles:

Sort (Seiri):

  • Identification of Unnecessary Items: During the implementation of 5S shadow boards and workplace organisation, unnecessary tools or items may be identified, promoting a process of sorting and removing items that are not required for the task at hand.

Set in Order (Seiton):

  • Organisation: Tool shadow boards provide a template and structure for tools in a designated and easily accessible location. Each tool has its designated shadow or outline, making it clear where each tool belongs.
  • Visual Management: The boards use visual cues to indicate where tools should be placed. This ensures that employees can quickly identify missing tools and return them to their proper places.

Shine (Seiso):

  • Clear Workspace: The use of shadow boards encourages employees to keep their workspace clean. With tools set in designated locations and not randomly scattered, it is easier to clean and maintain the area.

Standardise (Seiketsu):

  • Consistency: Shadow boards establish a standardised and consistent location for tools. This consistency reduces the time wasted searching for tools and minimizes the risk of misplaced items.
  • Visual Standards: The use of shadows or outlines on the boards creates a visual standard for tool placement. This helps maintain a uniform and organized appearance throughout the workspace, supporting a workforce able to work effectively across processes.

Sustain (Shitsuke):

  • Employee Accountability: Employees become more accountable in the long term for maintaining the organization when it is visually evident when tools are missing or out of place.

In summary, tool shadow boards such as these supplied to Safran Helicopter Engines help support 5S lean processes by promoting organisation, standardisation, visual management, and sustaining a clean and efficient workspace.

Colour Coding Labels for Cleaning Stations

Colour Coding with Labels for 5S Cleanign Stations

PEAK Visual Management recently went the extra mile to ensure our customer Hitachi Rail’s satisfaction by applying colour coded visual labels to the cleaning tools supplied with their 5S Cleaning Tool Shadow Board. No request is too difficult for our team to handle.

Colour coding labels for cleaning tools stored on 5S Cleaning Station Shadow Boards can significantly enhance visual management and efficiency in several ways:

  1. Easy Identification: With color-coded labels, the team can quickly identify different types of cleaning tools and supplies based on the assigned colour. This reduces the time spent searching for the right tools, leading to increased efficiency.
  2. Reduced Errors: By associating specific colours with specific cleaning tasks or areas, there’s less room for error. Team members are less likely to use the wrong tools or supplies, reducing the risk of mistakes or contamination and improving overall effectiveness.
  3. Enhanced Organization: Colour coding creates a visual hierarchy, making it easier to organize cleaning tools and supplies. Team members can easily distinguish between different categories of items, leading to a more orderly, tidy workspace.
  4. Improved Training and Onboarding: New employees can quickly learn and understand the organization system through colour coding. It simplifies training processes and ensures consistency in tool usage across the team.
  5. Streamlined Workflow: With clearly labelled tools and supplies, workflow processes become more streamlined. Users can access what they need promptly, without unnecessary delays or interruptions, leading to improved productivity.
  6. Standardization: Colour coding promotes standardisation across different workstations or cleaning stations within the organization. This consistency reduces confusion and ensures that employees can adapt quickly when moving between different locations.
  7. Safety: In environments where safety is paramount, colour coding can also be used to identify hazardous materials or equipment, helping to prevent accidents and injuries.

Overall, colour coding labels for cleaning tools improves visual management by providing clear visual cues, enhancing organisation, reducing errors, and streamlining workflow processes. It’s a simple yet effective strategy that can have a significant impact on efficiency and productivity in the management of cleaning equipment and well organised cleaning operations.

We hope you will continue your Lean journey with us as Peak Visual Management.

SQCDP Suprise

SQCDP Suprise

It’s fantastic to hear that the SQCDP Board supplied by PEAK Visual Management has made a positive impact at Teckentrup, helping their teams come together to focus on performance monitoring and improvement. Visual Management tools like SQCDP Boards are invaluable in promoting collaboration, transparency, and a shared focus on key metrics.

The fact that Teckentrup showcases their Visual Management efforts in their reception area is a noteworthy practice. It not only serves as a constant reminder for their employees but also communicates to visitors and clients the importance placed on performance monitoring and continuous improvement.

We hope you will continue your Lean journey with us as Peak Visual Management.

Coming Together with Obeya Visual Management Centres

Obeya VM Centres

Team Work

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success”

A quote by Henry Ford that highlights the importance of teamwork.


Have you ever wondered how your team works together?

The founders of PEAK Visual Management developed our experience of ‘Stand Up’ meetings during our time working at Toyota Motor Manufacturing. They showed us how this method of operating team meetings and morning briefs kept energy levels high, focus on common goals and objectives and ensured the team stayed motivated.


PEAK Visual Management develop, design, manufacture and supply Obeya Visual Management centres to support operational teams to keep working together.

Why use an Obeya Centre:

  • Create a distraction free hub to manage projects, drive improvements and control performance.
  • Easy to extend and add new sections if the organisation demands change.
  • Remove the need for free wall space and create the Visual Management Centre where you have the space available.
  • Professional service from quote and concept through to delivery and assembly.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Safety Arches

Factory Entrance Safety Archway

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" - Safety Arches

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

Benjamin Franklin

At PEAK VM we believe Safety Awareness is an investment in the welfare of the people and culture found within an organisation.

PEAK VM Safety Archways create a difficult to ignore prompt placing key safety messages in the awareness of employees, visitors and contractors’, as they enter an area of higher personal risk. We specify, design, manufacture and supply the safety arches to our clients’ exact needs.

We can integrate key visual management cues, such as: PPE requirements, instructional Safety signs, reminder mirrors and replaceable document storage.

“Safe Work is ‘the gate’ to all work. Let us pass through this gate.”

Eiji Toyoda

Safety Archway Options:

  • 3D Arch, can be placed anywhere on the factory floor away from walls or existing building architecture
  • 2D Arch, also freestanding, but more compact in footprint where floor space might be at a premium.
  • Wall Mounted, We can help our clients to utilise the wall space around entrances to create a powerful visual reminder of safety with well-crafted signs. This is an easy win as the signs are simple to install but transform the uninspiring external wall space around the entrance to produce an important visual cue for safe behaviour and personal protection.
Factory Entrance Safety Archway

If you have an interest in how our Safety Archways might work for you please get in touch!