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Automotive Manufacturing: Implementation of Shadow Boards as part of a MUDA (Waste) initiative to support Takt time reduction.

About Alexander Dennis

Alexander Dennis is the global leader in manufacturing double-deck and lightweight buses, with 31,000 Alexander Dennis buses and Plaxton coaches in service globally. Passionate about doing the right things, they are pioneers of sustainable mobility, with 2,000 zero-emission buses sold to date.

The company has twenty facilities in ten countries spanning Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia-Pacific, the UK and Ireland. As a key local employer in many locations, they aim to make a positive impact within these communities to create a better product, workplace and world.

The Challenge

When the organisation initiated a new project aimed at reducing MUDA (waste) across the factory to support Takt time reduction in response to customer demand, the Manufacturing Engineering Manager enlisted VMT to propose visual solutions.

Engaging with line operators, we sought to understand their challenges and explore how lean visual methods could improve overall efficiency.

It was quickly identified that there was significant time spent searching for tooling and equipment in tool drawer cabinets and the local area. VMT identified that visual tool storage and setting home locations for key equipment would reduce the time required to locate an item.

The Solution

Collaborating with line operators, VMT created tool lists from which Shadow Board designs were developed with an efficient logical layout. Operator involvement is essential for the success of a Shadow Board project. In addition to visual impact, they must have practical functionality for day-to-day use.

Beyond the provision of multiple hand tooling shadow boards, we supplied cleaning tool shadow boards, team leader boards, and signage. These additional elements reinforce governance in the use of the shadow boards and the new efficient working practice.

The Result

Empowering individuals to cultivate efficient habits not only minimises waste but also transforms the workplace into a more fulfilling and rewarding environment.

The tangible impact of this effort is evident in the manufacturing team’s remarkable Takt reduction from 9.2 to 8.3 hours.

This positive shift not only enhances productivity but also contributes to a harmonious and motivated work culture.

By fostering a mindset of efficiency, our solutions create a workplace where individuals thrive, finding greater satisfaction in their roles and contributing to the overall success of the team.

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