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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.

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