Use Visual Control so No Problems are Hidden

The seventh principle of the Toyota Way is:

Use visual control so no problems are hidden.

Visual control is any communication device used in the work environment that tells us at a glance how work should be done and whether it is deviating from the standard. It helps employees who want to do a good job see immediately how they are doing. It might show where items belong, how many items belong there, what the standard procedure is for doing something, the status of work in process, and many other types of information critical to the flow of work activities.

In the broadest sense, visual control refers to the design of just-in-time information of all types to ensure fast and proper execution of operations and processes. Visual control goes beyond capturing deviations from a target or goal on charts and graphs and posting them publicly. Visual controls at Toyota are integrated into the process of the value-added work.

The visual aspect means being able to look at the process, a piece of equipment, inventory or information, or at a worker performing a job and immediately see the standard being used to perform the task and if there is a deviation from the standard.

Design simple visual systems at the place where the work is done, to support flow and pull. Reduce your reports to one piece of paper whenever possible, even for your most important financial decisions. A well-developed visual control system increases productivity, reduces defects and mistakes, helps meet deadlines, facilitates communication, improves safety, lowers costs, and generally gives the workers more control over their environment.

Summing-up: Well-designed charts and graphs that are kept up every day can visually control projects in offices. Use visual control to make visible any deviations from the standard and to facilitate flow. Support your employees through visual control so they have the best opportunity to do a good job.

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