When using visual management techniques to display performance measurement data choosing the right combination of analysis to present can make or break the effectiveness of the technique.

Organizations that choose to display performance metrics within the workplace can benefit in a variety of ways. Firstly, sharing performance against business targets can reinforce the company goals while establishing the gap in what needs to be done to hit targets. However merely displaying performance is not enough.

To be effective businesses should display the performance, the goal and the gap between the two. When it comes to displaying information about the performance gap visual management techniques can be utilized.

Let us look at an example. In this, company A looks to produce 100 of a particular widget every week. On its production display board it shares its objectives with the workforce. They can see that performance/actual output is typically around 80 units per week showing a gap of 20 units against the target. On the display board a chart is used to display performance against target.

The business realizes however that displaying performance is not enough. Alongside the performance chart is a Pareto chart which analyses the root causes of the gap in performance. The Pareto charts captures five root causes in our example.

However, simply knowing the causes of the failure is not enough we also need to understand what activities are being undertaken to prevent re-occurrence. Our visual management display board is used to capture an activity list and high level project plan indicating when improvement activities will take place.

Through utilizing visual management to present this information a single source of information regarding performance, the gap against target, and the resultant improvement plan can all be presented together. Cross functional teams can gather at the production control board and review the ongoing activity performance and key issues affecting the business in achieving its targets. Information can be updated periodically to provide updates on progress.

This method, can be a powerful tour when used correctly. Where businesses utilize visual management but do so to present performance against targets the difference between performance and the objective is often “lost in the noise” and the resultant improvement task can become disconnected.

One of the key success factors of this techniques effectiveness is its simplicity. This technique can be deployed without the addition of expensive software or radical processes. Whilst digital display boards can improve real-time sharing of information, dry wipe board can be used effectively to share this type of data, making it fairly simple to rapidly deploy.

Information which is simple, easily understood and manageable becomes an effective tool to close the difference between production and targets whilst fulfilling the information needs of the work cell and its management team.

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