What is Visual Management? What are its types and benefits?

In this competitive market landscape, to scale your business on an upscale graph all your employees must be on the same page. Your employees are the most valuable asset, and empowering them with the right information is essential for achieving your strategic objectives.

We understand a manufacturer’s challenge, conveying the company’s goal and expectations for the day, quarter, and year to every employee individually can be impractical. This is where visual management comes in.

This guide will tell you how a visual management system can revolutionize your organization. Let’s dig in!

What is Visual Management?

Visual management is a game-changer for businesses, through which one can communicate important information in a visual and real-time manner. It is a method of labels, signs, markings, information displays, and visual guides instead of long written instruction documents. Lean organizations, known for their efficiency, heavily rely on visual management. It delegates them to quickly identify problems, reinforce best practices, and maintain a safe and stable work environment.

What is the Focus and Purpose of Visual Management?

Technique of Visual Management works as sharing information, following work guidelines, standard expansion, identifying problems, and stopping the issues.

It is an important part of lean manufacturing that prioritizes effectiveness and quality as an approach to production. Visual Management makes it simple for every employee to understand what/how and when has to be done. This technique is done with the help of charts, graphs, and other visual aids. Workers can work more productively and error-free when information is more visible.

  • Sharing Information
  • Developing Standard Work
  • Sharing Standard Work
  • Highlighting Problems
  • Solving Problems

Benefits Of Implementing Visual Management at Workplace

There is a vast variety of visual management and organizations can choose any of them that suits their business the most. No matter what method you are using there are some common benefits of visual management such as:

  • Easily Understand Information- If visual management is used precisely, it presents information in a way that is quick and easy to understand, also you can tell if we are winning the situation from five feet away, in five seconds.
  • Ensure Smooth Operation- Visual management helps you to keep things running as it is decided. You can track the outcome of a specific process that has been modified as a part of continuous movement efforts.
  • Promote Quality Controls- We use this technique to make our workplace error-proof, by making things to do right.
  • Ensure Transparency- By determining what information people need to know, you can keep your team informed and share information in the way it was intended.
  • Encourage Employee Engagement- Visual management allows you to see how your team is performing and how their work is impacting results, which helps staff be more connected to the work.


Types Of Visual Management

There are majorly 3 types of visual management such as:

  • Visual Displays- We use visual displays to provide a visual representation of data like graphs, charts, ad diagrams.
  • Visual Metrics- We use this method to measure the performance of a process such as cycle time, lead time, etc.
  • Visual Control- Easily monitor and control processes like andons, warning sensors, and poka-yoke.

What is the relationship between 5s and Visual Management?

5S and visual management are two concepts that go along. However, they are not exactly the same thing, they work together to create a more effective and organized atmosphere at your organization.

Visual control is the use of visual systems, such as signs, labels, and floor markings to transfer information and values ​​in the workplace. Its aim is to make the current situation clear at a moment’s notice, requiring them to be slightly explained.

On the other hand, 5S is a method of organizing the enterprise. It has five steps like, Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. This step creates a cleaner, more efficient, and safer work environment.

Functions of Visual Management

The aim of visual management is to transfer precise information about shop floor process and production statuses into easy-to-understand visual form. This visualizes the power of the scoreboard, highlighting how it provides a quick and clear understanding of the entire operation’s performance.



Examples Of Visual Management

Some of the common example of visual management are labeling supplies and work areas, posting rules and procedures, and using color coding system to track performance. Workers can identify issues more quickly and respond to them more effectively when information becomes clearer. Visual management can therefore facilitate Lean manufacturing processes and ultimately raise overall productivity.

  • Continuous Improvement Boards
  • Project Status Boards
  • Daily Management Boards
  • 5S Control Board

Best Tools for Visual Management

By leveraging visual management, you encourage a culture of transparency, empower your workforce, and ultimately achieve greater stability and efficiency within your organization. There are many top visual management tools such as:

  • 5S (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain)- With this technique, you can remove unnecessary items, organize tools and materials, clean the workplace, establish standards for processes, and easily maintain and review standards.
  • Kanban Boards- This a tool through which you can manage workflow, majorly divided into columns like to do in progress and done, which helps track assigned tasks and limit work-in-progress. 
  • Andon- This tool comes along with visual signals that indicate the status of a process, showcasing issues or when help is required to maintain smooth operations. 
  • Gemba Walks- Managers and supervisors can easily observe the production of the floor through visual cues and displays to identify areas for improvement.
  • Shadow Boards- These shadow boards outline tools and equipment, ensuring each item has a designated place, making it easy to see if something is missing or out of place.
  • Visual Work Instructions- This is a step-by-step guide that comes with pictures or diagrams to help workers understand the task, and reduce the chances of errors and the time required for training.
  • Performance Boards- These boards display key performance indicators (KPIs) such as production rates, quality levels, and safety metrics to keep everyone informed about the team’s performance.
  • Color Coding- In this technique, we use different colors to categorize items, areas, or statuses, allowing quick identification and understanding of information at a glance.
  • Floor Markings- Easily mark the floor lines and symbols to specify work areas, storage, and spaces to enhance the safety of an organization.
  • Information Centers- Locate the center location where you want to put important documents, notices, and updates are posted, keeping essential information accessible to all employees.
  • Poka-Yoke (Error Proofing): Prevent errors, and ensure mistakes are detected and corrected immediately. 
  • Digital Dashboards: Display real-time data and metrics, providing up-to-date information for decision-making and performance monitoring.

Visual Management Vs Visual Control

Visual management and visual control are some of the core techniques of Lean management and other continuous improvement methodologies that enhance work efficiency, transparency, and quality. Both techniques are used in Lean and other management systems.

These methods help streamline the process, facilitate communication, and implement standards, eventually driving better performance and operational excellence. However, they share some similarities, they serve different purposes and involve different approaches.

The Foundation Of Visual Control:

Picture a workshop floor where everything is rightly ordered, and its place properly marked. Inventory levels are shown on big screens and the progress of production is tracked on a large board that everyone in your institution could see working towards getting better work. The core spirit of Visual Control is simply a way of conveying important information as clearly and easily to understand. It teaches you how to use visual tools, such as charts, signs, color-coded signals, etc.

Visual control serves several key purposes:

  • Standardization: It ensures everyone adheres to the same procedures, minimizing errors and inconsistencies.
  • Real-time monitoring: Deviations from the norm become immediately apparent, allowing for prompt corrective action.
  • Improved communication: Visual cues eliminate the need for lengthy explanations, fostering a culture of transparency.

Visual Management: The Bigger Picture

Visual management takes visual control a step further. It uses visual tools to not only communicate information but also to achieve specific goals and strategies. Think of it as the overarching philosophy that guides the implementation of visual controls.



View management systems typically offer features such as:

  • Company goals and objectives: Clearly expressed so that everyone is aligned with the big picture.
  • Performance Dashboard: Monitor key metrics to track progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • Project timelines and Kanban boards: providing a clear visual representation of workflow and progress.
  • Safety management: highlighting potential hazards and appropriate safety measures.

Consider visual control as a building block and visual management as a system. Visual applications provide the tools needed for clear communication, while visual control explains both the processes and objectives supported by these tools. When used together, it is a powerful system that:

  • Empowers employees: Giving them the information they need allows employees to take ownership of their work and contribute effectively.
  • Increases productivity: Real-time data visualization enables faster problem identification and resolution, reducing disruption and delays.
  • Fosters a culture of continuous improvement: Visual interventions encourage everyone to actively participate in identifying and implementing improvements.


The goal of visual management is to enable anyone working in your organization to be able to assess the current situation in one go. This brings the workplace to the point where all problems, and waste are immediately recognized.

Visual tools aren’t just informative, they are proactive. When troubles or deviations from the standard come to be with no trouble obvious – thanks to clean visuals – corrective actions can be taken without delay. This quick reaction minimizes disruptions and streamlines ordinary manner efficiency and effectiveness.

The visual communique also empowers your personnel. Imagine new hires quite simply greedy process expectancies through clean visible aids, like flowcharts or illustrated commands. This reduces reliance on extensive supervision.

Employees can see the favored outcome, apprehend their position in attaining it, and confidently take possession of their obligations. This now not best fosters a sense of autonomy but additionally frees up supervisors for extra strategic obligations.

frequently asked questions

What do you mean by visual management?

Visual management is a system through which teams, companies, and so on, use visual aids- like diagrams, pictures, charts, and graphs to transfer messages  to one another.

What are the 3 types of visual management?

There are 3 types of visual management such as Display, Metric, and Control visual management. 

What is an example of a Visual management system?

Some of the common visual management system examples are labeling supplies and work areas, posting rules and procedures and using color coding systems to track performances.

What are the 4 levels of Visual management?

The 4 levels of Visual management are Visual Control, Visual Measures, Visual Standards, and Visual Order.

What are the effects of visual management?

With the help of visual management you can allow your teams to monitor quality standards visually.

What is the most important purpose of the control phase?

The most important purpose of the control phase is, ensuring that all items that were created and obtained that were in the improve phase.