top of page

“VISION” of VISUAL workplace   


 For those not yet committed to a visual factory – stupid floors you just walk on, but smart floors are filled with information that brings order out chaos, as visual indications show where everything should be.


As you wander through your operation take extra time to identify the following …..


No Wandering / No Searching

Everything you need to do a proper job is near at hand and where you left it – and         where you left it is its proper, designated place.


No Waiting / No Delays

You do not need to wait to do your work.  Materials, parts, tools, paperwork arrive on time. Permission to engage in the work is visibly in place in the work area.


No Wondering / No Secrets

Procedures are standardized and visually displayed.  All the information you need to do quality work is at your fingertips – accurate, complete and visible.


No Obstacles / No Detours

It’s a straight shot to where you need to go.  You don’t need to take a detour around equipment, racks, people or material.


No Extras

The area contains just what’s needed, nothing extra, nothing just-in-case.  Lean, elegant, essential.


No Injuries

The workplace is safe.  Safety procedures are built into the process of work.


No Waste / No Red Ink

The workplace is clean, well-ordered, self-explaining, and self-regulating.  Waste is identified before it accumulates.  Material and information flow through the workplace at an accelerated pace.


Do You know where RED, YELLOW and GREEN originated for traffic signals?

Stoplights are red, yellow and green because traffic officials, early on, copied the code system railroad engineers devised for track systems controlling the trains.  The goal of the railroad engineers in creating this code was to prevent often fatal train collisions by giving the trains advance visual warning.  Red, the colour of blood, proved a logical choice for the stop signal, as for thousands of years this colour foretold of danger.  The colour alone, railroad engineers reasoned, should give people cause to pause, and stop or suffer the consequences of death and destruction.  Engineers used the trial and error method of selecting the other colours.  The first trial in the 1830’s was of choosing green for the caution signal and clear white light for the go signal.  This failed miserably.  Typical street lighting or sun glare was often mistaken for a “go” signal with the inevitable messy result.  This prompted the railroad engineers to then try Red for stop, Yellow for caution and Green for go.  Traffic engineers stole this coding system in a typical Best Practice fashion and adapted it into the world’s first electric traffic light in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914.  So it is to the railroad engineers that we owe our Visual Management code, not the traffic engineers after all.

As we progress in the year… let us remember…


1.Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

2. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

3.Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

4.If at first you don't succeed, skydiving’s not for you.

5.Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he’ll sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

6.If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

7.If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

8.Some days you are the dog; some days you are the fire hydrant.

9.Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

10.Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

11.Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

12.No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously….



Take praise beyond generic recognition with these three steps:

1. Make a general remark, such as: "That was a great presentation, Wally.“

2. Tell him specifically what you liked: "I liked how you used humour to talk about the changes we face. “

3. Generalize from this specific instance to a character strength: "Your sense of humour always gets us through rough times. I admire that. "Following this method tells a person that this specific event is indicative of something you admire about him. It’s much more powerful than just saying, "Good job."


We do more than just blog. We're active Lean practitioners who would love to help you achieve your productivity goals.

bottom of page