Visual management is a common technique used in a variety of businesses from manufacturing organizations through to administrative call centers. In factories production display boards are commonly used tools to present information regarding production performance.

Why production boards are used.

Production boards are often used to combine information regarding the production line and displayed in a way that can easily promulgate information. This information can include:

• Production Schedule
• Performance against targets
• Issues and actions
• Trend analysis
• Root cause analysis
• Whereabouts

Combining this information can be very powerful. Production boards offer a place in the workplace for workers to periodically gather round to discuss production, performance and key issues. In many organizations these “drum beat” meetings take place daily or in many organizations dealing with high volume production lines at various intervals throughout the day.

Some organizations may choose to display the information digitally updating it in real time. Other organizations will use a mixture of printed documents and dry wipe boards that are updated throughout the day to represent the current status of production.

Whilst digital display boards can have some benefits, not only does using more traditional techniques such as “dry-wipe boards” offer the workers and management a single place to obtain information from it is a low cost and easy to deploy solution.

It’s not uncommon for such display boards to be used in production meetings including cross functional teams. For example, production control meetings may include procurement, operations, human resources through to production operators themselves. A key benefit of the display board is the ease of sharing consistent information between these teams in a way that everyone can understand and act on.

When used consistently as a meeting place at which to share information production boards can be highly effective at catching issues and driving change. Where the production board is not digital there is a degree of work required to maintain the accuracy of data and keep information up-to-date.

Summary

Production display boards are a highly effective method of sharing a variety of information in a consistent manner. Whilst often prevalent in manufacturing organizations this type of management tool can be utilized in a wide variety of environments. The business needs to carefully consider what information is displayed on the board in order to maximize its use. However once used on a regular basis the production board becomes part of the fabric of the every day working pattern and the information displayed on it becomes the authoritative focal point of performance and issues.

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