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Visual Workplace Tools

The visual workplace isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to any problem. Rather, it’s a blend of tools and techniques that complement one another. You’ll need to consider the goals of your organization as well as the wants of your customers to decide whether it is suitable for your circumstances.

Work instructions

There are several types of visual tools. Work instructions are short, simple guides on how to complete specific tasks. They should be placed near to where a person would carry out the task. Good work instructions are concise, easy to read, in a clear font, and supported with simple illustration if necessary.

So instructions on how to load new paper in the office printer, for example, should be displayed near the printer, in a large font, with an illustration to show how to open the paper tray.

Process flow diagrams

Process flow diagrams show the correct sequence of steps in a process. This helps to ensure all workers who carry out the same task, do so in the same way. If the workflow is standardized, it’s less likely employees will make mistakes or be frustrated by a task. Process flow diagrams tell employees exactly what to do.

A graphic design company, for example, may standardize their graphic design process so each designer on the team has a copy of the process flow. Every designer now follows the same process. This means there aren’t any differences between individual designers’ work.