Industry Forum

Message-board and teamIs filling in your boards a tick box exercise or do you use them as a tool to enable improved performance and engage employees?

Visual Management Boards are just one of the ways you can communicate with all the levels in your company.

By themselves they don’t actually make improvements or, in fact, do that much communicating!

They need to be bought to life by people using them and they need to be designed and placed carefully.

Here are my top 10 features to consider when designing and using the boards. As well as drawing from personal experience they include the results of research into the use of Visual Management in workplace communications


  • Involve the local team of employees in the design and ongoing use of the board. This promotes ownership
  • Keep the information appropriate to the area but do show a clear link to your company policy and area objectives. This brings operational and strategic performance measures together in one place; a key part of the Integration Model
  • Visual management boardWhere the workplace has many boards, and they are used as the focal point of daily, weekly and monthly reviews do have a standard overall layout. This makes it easier for users to interpret. The local team still decide the content, but within the layout guidelines.Boards typically contain information on the inputs and outputs of the process (man, material, machine, quality, cost and delivery) as well as improvement and safety.The feature I like on this board is that the chart holders are reversible. Plenty of space for different teams or additional information
  • Ensure the board communicates positive information, not just negative
  • For the information displayed use these three key visual management principles:
    • Use the right graphical tool to convey the data
    • Use colour sparingly, for example just to highlight key features
    • Avoid using excessive borders and boxes; aim at a minimum ink to data ratio. For example use lighter lines instead of black, or none where possible


  • Use the board for daily team briefings as well as the scheduled management review meetings. This gets managers away from outdated written reports and into the workplace
  • To aid this process, position the boards close to the place of work, or at a key focal point, where they can be easily gathered around. Boards can be used for non manufacturing areas as well
  • Remember these briefings, or huddles, should be a two way communication process
  • Ensure the information is kept up to date:
    • Appoint a board (or chart) owner
    • Update or draw graphs by hand if you don’t have the necessary time or equipment. This is often the case where short interval monitors are used to manage the process
  • Last, but definitely not least. Use this information to drive the improvement process. If your data isn’t turned into information and acted on to make an improvement, it is just fancy wallpaper

We hope these ideas will help you in either creating or improving this aspect of your communication and improvement process. We love to hear and see examples of boards you have found that work particularly well for you. 

Thank you to KMF for providing this example.

If you would like to know more about Visual Management Boards and other management for manufacturers, why not check out our Leadership Development Programme



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