What Elements Should You Include in Your Visual Management System?

In the fall of 2020, Kaas Tailored hosted a series of Zoom calls unpacking our Daily Management System (DMS). Each month we focused on a different element of our DMS starting with strategy, then discussing daily huddles, then talking about Visual Management Systems (VMS), and ending with Leader Standard Work. In this post, Tucker and Oz explain how to decide what elements to include in your VMS.

How do you know what elements you should make visual? You have to be very selective. The first part is deciding, “Who is the customer?” Often, when people make things, it is for 10 different customers, so the whole thing gets watered down. But choosing one customer helps us set clear constraints and contrasts. 

For example, in the year board, we chose three just because if you can’t say with three main metrics whether or not your department is healthy, basically it’s the bare minimum to do it without getting overloaded. When we first threw this idea out to the team, we asked for the metrics people would like to measure. Nobody knew what to put up there. So we just kind of left them blank, or we chose them for people. Then very quickly, people said, “I don’t care about that information. What I would actually like to know is this information.” It quickly morphed and allowed us to pull from the team instead of pushing our ideas onto them.

When it comes down to deciding what elements of your VMS to make visual, it’s about deciding who the customer is. Then, it’s about being really clear on the number one, number two, and number three thing that you want to show – the things you want to be able to see from a distance. You want to be able to squint and go, “Okay, I know we’re okay or not okay.”

If you would like to learn more about how to implement a Daily Management System within your organization or more about Kaizen and Continuous Improvement, consider signing up for a Kaas Tailored Waste Tour