How Visual Images Help Run Japanese Factories

Discusses management and technical staff’s extensive use of visual images in the control system of Japanese factories to structure information so that everyone may understand the plan, execute it, identify errors and solve any problems related to performance gaps. Describes the control system, the plan-do-see (PDS) cycle, and the crucial role visual communications play in its effectiveness in identifying problems and correcting them in an efficient manner. Argues that U.S companies may benefit from the use of visual images, not only in their dealings with Japanese companies, but also for improving comprehension and factory floor performance in their own factories.