I once had a plant manager who had the perfect analogy for the use of visual management, by implementing an engineered shop floor layout with clear and concise instructions at each employee's workstation.
The question he asked our team was this:
"Why is it that when you look at a shampoo bottle, there are directions to 'Rinse, Lather and Repeat'?"
His answer was simple, yet thought-provoking.
"Someone at some point stood there with the bottle, trying to figure out what to do with it."
Simply put, the better you are able to remove complexity from the shop floor and provide concrete visual and descriptive aids, the more control you will have over your plant's overall performance. Utilize ALL personnel to develop your system. Your operators are just as important as your engineers as they handle 99% of your production needs, and when prompted generally are happy to help define problems they see. "The Toyota Way" by Liker is a great source of implementing Toyota's quality control systems into your shop and highly recommended as you work towards incorporating visual management into your production system.
Benchmark industries utilizing these techniques are mostly Tier 1 automotive suppliers, and companies manufacturing for the medical device and pharmaceutical industries. Visual management in other industries is not uncommon; it has proven itself as a beneficial and productive addition to many different industrial and management settings....