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How to: Visual Management. Lean in the Airport.

Why is it that when we are in the airport, we don’t wander aimlessly around?

It is because of the extensive use of Lean visual controls. Lean practitioners, just like airport designers, know the value of using visual controls. Lean processes should have what airports have: easy to recognize signals that keep things flowing in the right direction.

Whenever there is a part of a process that takes longer than it should, or has chronic quality issues, consider putting in some visual signals.

  • Color code parts to a specific model
  • Use numbers on the floor to indicate the sequence of operations
  • Use a standard taping convention to designate locations for equipment
  • Place yellow tags on items in a service center that are approaching a due date, and red tags once they are late

The use of visual controls can greatly improve your operation with relatively little effort. My challenge to you is to put this tool to use at least once before the end of the day to see how easy it can be.


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