Image of Peniscola

Visual management in lean: what you can learn from Game of Thrones

Every year I visit the beautiful town of Peñiscola on Spain’s East Coast for a dose of sunshine. But this year there was an unusual buzz. The reason for the excitement? Game of Thrones was about to be filmed within the winding narrow streets of the town’s impressive Citadel. We watched eagerly as the scene was set, false plants hung from the battlements and daily life transformed with numerous props and embellishments.

Seeing the stage being set for a fantasy TV show reminded me of the some of the plot twists a business may experience when it tries to be lean.

A crusade for a brighter future

When companies begin their quest to be lean they start a crusade of visual management. They enthusiastically hang beautiful display boards and countless visual instructions around the factory. They point to a perfect kingdom where chaos and ‘fire-fighting’ are relics. The promise of increased productivity and efficiency is there for everyone to see.

But when the show is over and the daily grind returns these props fall into disuse. Staffs are left feeling frustrated by yet another failed initiative to improve working life.

What is good visual management?

Visual management is not set design to embellish the shop floor and distract the eye from problems. It is about:

  • establishing a base line of control to quickly highlight abnormalities
  • allowing management to make decisions based on fact rather than opinion
  • drilling down to find root causes and implement preventative measures

To be truly sustainable visual management tools need to have impact and add value. Are you just paying lip service to lean for the benefit of stakeholders and customers? If so, you will simply add more work to an already over-burdened operations department.

Help to slay the dragon of waste and costs

So have you conquered your kingdom or are the walls beginning to crumble?

To introduce true visual management and wage the war against waste and spiralling costs get in touch now

For the Game of Thrones’ enthusiasts or those who simply appreciate a beautiful coastline I can highly recommend Peñiscola and the great Villa de las Estrellas