About a year ago, a gentleman by the name of Bill Godecker came to PDT, as a consultant, to energize Lean in our Engineering department. He created an environment where the group could constructively criticize the process and make improvements in a short period of time, turning words into action. By the end of his session, the team created a Visual Engineering Board shown in the initial blog post, Lean Manufacturing Blog: Visual Engineering Boards. Since then, additional Visual Boards have been implemented, such as our IR &D Status Board (see image below).
Prior to this, status was hidden behind a computer screen, within someones notebook, or kept in the memory of the project lead which created potential for motion waste (searching for the right people to obtain current status) and overprocessing (duplication of efforts). Now, PDT’s IR & D team meets regularly at the IR & D Status Board where status is made visible and follow up actions are addressed. This Visual Management tool has allowed the IR & D team to visualize each project as it moves through the process. Furthermore, it creates an environment where overall project status can be identified in a shorter amount of time and by the entire team, opposed to only one person being aware of what’s going on. As one must do with continuous improvement, teams reflect on PDT’s Andon Boards to identify areas of enhancement; “bite small, chew fast” and “it must evolve” as Bill Godecker would say. Come next Lean Manufacturing Blog, we’ll outline identified enhancement(s) made to each visual board.