Why Hourly Production Display Boards are Important

5S Supply 60-Minute Board ExampleUsing Hourly Boards (a.k.a. 60-Minute Boards or Production Boards) are a great way to keep your team informed on whether production is on-target, ahead or behind. Waiting until the end of the shift to find out if you met the planned production for the day is a little too late to do anything about it. Real-time information would be best, but sometimes that is costly to setup or takes a lot of effort to perform.  Takt-time awareness is great for an operator so she knows if she is on pace. A different level of responsiveness is needed for management, if you were a supervisor you probably wouldn’t want to hear every minute that “We’re on-time.” A pitch increment or pack-out quantity may be better, but that too may not fit every situation especially outside of manufacturing. The type of display board we suggest is perfect for manufacturing production areas, office and support functions, and even healthcare. Use them anywhere you want to see if you are on target or not.

If end-of-shift or real-time aren’t the appropriate solution to communicate production levels, what is? The answer is Hourly Boards. Using a mechanism where on a consistent basis the actual units produced is compared to the planned amount is recorded; any countermeasures for errors can be incorporated closer to real-time. Having your team involved with creating the board is the first step. Ask them what they would like to see on the board. By including your team members not only do you get better ideas by having more input, you build buy-in with your team members because they were part of the solution. You can also discuss the reason or need for the boards – which it will help with understanding abnormal situations. Tell them the “why” before you work on the “How”.

Using the Hourly Board for its Intended Use – Communication

Start the day with a short start-up meeting. Mention any open issues from the day before, any changes to the upcoming schedule, changeovers, maintenance items, 5S, and any: quality, cost, delivery, and safety items. During the shift, communicate any issues that come up – especially any reasons that the target conditions weren’t met. Assign the appropriate person (hopefully someone closest to the process) to help investigate the root cause and coach them to propose a countermeasure. Have a quick end-of-shift meeting at the board to review the day’s work. Talk about what went well, what didn’t, opportunities for improvement, upcoming schedules, and so on.

Advantages of Hourly Display Boards

One of the advantages of using a manual display board (versus electronic – hey, don’t worry I like those too) is that a person has to take responsibility to write the actual hourly production number on the board. This is a tactile process – the person has to grab a dry-erase marker, uncap it and write the actual hourly production number on the board, now they own that number. To visually enhance this experience a green marker should be used when the production number is met or exceeded (along with a congratulatory note would be nice). A red marker should be used whenever the target or planned number is not achieved along with an explanation why and a proposed countermeasure. The target units and can be written in black and notes for the team can be in blue. These visual indicators will make it simple and easy for the people on the team to get a grasp of the situation quickly and without any guessing.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Setting Up an Hourly Display Board

Check out 5S Supply’s exclusive Hourly Board Kit video below

Hourly Production Board from 5S Supply on Vimeo.

To prepare for your Value Stream Mapping training event, make sure that you communicate with not only with the team members, but to other employees too. Specifically mention it to employees that might have a high probability of being interviewed. Since most companies under-communicate with their employees, it is important to get this information out early and in several different formats. One company was very creative and placed posters around the facility announcing the plans for the VSM event. A key to good communication is that you are targeting your audience with a clear message. Since it is not uncommon for companies to think that they have done a good job of communicating when they really don’t; here are a couple of ideas that may help your efforts:

  • Use several channels of communication – don’t think that just because you mentioned it in passing during a monthly meeting that you met your obligation for clear communication. Pick several forms of communication such as: Alerts, Announcements, Articles, Board Meetings, Books, Bulletin Board Posting, Communication Board, Contests, Department Meetings, E-mail, Handouts, Lunch & Learn, Management Meetings, Newsletters, One-on-One Meetings, Paycheck Meetings, Plant-wide Meetings, PowerPoint Presentation, Seminars, Stand-up Meetings, Team Meetings, Videos, internal Website
  • Remember who your audience is – managers and supervisors probably need to know different information than the value-adders. For instance, a manager on the team will need to know how much time he or she will have to spend with the team. Supervisors may need to know who you may be interviewing and how this may affect their schedule or production. Operators or potential interviewees want to know what is this VSM ‘thing’ is about, why they were chosen to be interviewed, how much time will it take and even, will they get in trouble for saying the wrong thing (or telling the truth!).
  • Rate the effectiveness of the communication – just because you think you communicated well, doesn’t necessarily mean you have. Rate the effectiveness of your communication by performing quick audits by casually asking people if they know about the upcoming event. If people say “yes”, then you have probably done well. If they say they no idea of what you’re talking about, then your effectiveness is probably poor.

The key is good, clear, effective communication for all those affected by the VSM training.

If you need items for your VSM training event, check us out at http://www.5ssupply.com/shop/pc/Value-Stream-Mapping-c77.htm