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Visibility Lean Manufacturing: Management by Sight

Lean Manufacturing Tools and Techniques

Visibility Lean Manufacturing

Visibility is the preferred management style in Lean Manufacturing. Here managers and other employees are encouraged to get out and about on the shop floor and use conversation, visual cues, information and data to help manage where the work actually takes place – rather than just on spread sheets, in offices.

Examples include flip charts, noticeboards with performance data and instructions featuring images and diagrams, as well as text. Management by sight is also assisted by clearly labelled equipment and containers, as well as marked walk ways and bays. Make it easy for people by using simple colour coding and symbols. All this contributes to an orderly work environment, where it is clear when things are out of position or not being adhered to.

Some organisations include light boards and audible signals to highlight a defective machine or a breakdown. Others have clocks to demonstrate how long or how much time remains on a process, or how long a stoppage has taken, so as to encourage a quick response.

Technical drawings, CAD models and build instructions assist fitting and assembly activities. Accessing these and other data from (read only) terminals on the shop-floor, can also greatly assist employees.

‘Management by sight’ is a catch-all phrase that describes how visibility is central to Lean Manufacturing.

Visibility Lean Manufacturing


Managers on the shop floor talking and listening to employees where the action happens... at the 'Gemba' 


Real world examples of lean visual cues including labels, charts, marked floor bays and other features necessary for effective lean management by sight

Free Guide to 5S from Ben Geck

Next...Gemba


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