I was walking by this small town hardware store the other day and noticed that the window on their door was covered with several signs including the store hours, credit cards they accept and the like.  One message jumped out at me though.

PUSH HARD

What do you think when you see this sign?  I couldn’t help but to think about visual management in our factories.

PUSH HARD is an obvious and even humorous example of communicating the wrong message.  These guys have identified a problem and a surface level solution.  While they are able to use visual management to communicate their message, it’s the wrong message.  They have not addressed the root cause and they have put an unnecessary band-aid on the problem.

How often though do we do the same thing when problem solving issues in our manufacturing plants?  Anytime you see a countermeasure that says in essence, try harder, it’s time to dig deeper.  Do you really have the root causes?  Is try harder really an effective and sustainable countermeasure?

Try harder probably is not a long term solution to many issues yet all too often it is the response to Safety, Quality and other failures.  Be careful.  Watch out for defects.  These solutions are often quicker and easier than the best solutions.

As a Lean Leader, you need to make sure your team does good 5-Why’s and implements effective countermeasures.  Dig deeper even though it’s hard work.

How valuable is visual management if you convey the wrong message?

via Lean Leadership

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