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Visual controls for lean manufacturing

Before you can understand what the visual controls for lean manufacturing are and how they can be used to improve your manufacturing process you are going to need to understand what lean manufacturing is. So let's take a quick moment to review what lean manufacturing is before we go on to the visual controls of lean manufacturing.

Lean manufacturing is an initiative that focuses on cost reduction and increases in turnover by constantly and methodically eliminating activities that do not add value to the manufacturing process. Basically what lean manufacturing does is help companies to achieve targeted productivity, as well as other things, by introducing tools and techniques that are easy to apply and maintain. What these tools and techniques are doing is reducing and eliminating waste, things that are not needed in the manufacturing process.

Now that you know what lean manufacturing is you are going to need to understand what visual controls are. Basically in any type of workplace visual controls are basically what they sound like, they are controls that you put in place that involve looking at things to see how you can improve them or fix things so that you are not wasting anything, which basically leads to an improvement in your manufacturing. An example of visual controls in lean manufacturing is clearing away the large bins that are blocking the assembly line. By moving these bins you are able to get a clear view of the assembly line so you can now visual track the progress that is being made and you can spot problems faster.

But one of the best things about visual controls is that they can be applied in any workplace to a variety of different departments.Some of the departments that visual controls have been applied to already in other companies are:
- Research
- Shop floor production
- Product development
- Office and administrative
- Sales
- service

But perhaps the most important thing about visual controls in lean manufacturing is that it is a vital part of lean manufacturing because it provides the company with the ability to manage variances in process conditions and in product outcomes at the source of where the product is being made, not to mention it is used at the same time that the product is being made. Basically visual controls are going to allow you to respond faster to problems, but they are also going to allow you to develop through countermeasures to problems and by doing this your company is going to be able to achieve numerous things. Some things that can be achieved and that have been achieved in other companies are:
- 90% reduction in materials waste
- 75% reduction in floor space
- 90% improvement in product quality
- 90% reduction in lead time
- 50% reduction in variable costs

If your company decides to use visual controls in manufacturing you are going to need to complete a training course that will teach you how to identify the waste that is being created in your company and the things that you can do to eliminate that waste. But the training program is also going to teach you how to use visual controls effectively in your manufacturing company because not every company can use visual controls in the same way.

Another thing that is used when it comes to visual controls is the use of charts and other forms of visual indicators, which will be taught to you through your training program. But what these visual indicators are used for is comparing the performances to the targets so that everybody knows what they need to do and where they stand.

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