Visual Office

Where do you want to work?  If you’ve ever been to Disney or Epcot you may remember the experience.  You park your car or get off the tram, you don’t need to be able to read a map or the signs, you just follow the walkways and it just seems obvious where to go and how to get from here to there.  A ton of science goes into making the experience at the Magic Kingdom completely different from that of the traveling carnival that shows up at the edge of town in the empty lot next to the volunteer fire house.  At the carnival you can’t get from here to there, if you even can figure out where there is.  Kids may have a bunch of fun at either, but the parental stress level is completely different between the two amusements.

Which of the two do you want your office or shop floor to be like, Disney or the carnival?  If Disney is your destination, how do you get from here to there?

  1. Information is the output of an office.  Information can take many forms: email, databases, presentations,decisions.
  2. Wastes of Defects, Storage, Motion, Overprocessing, Waiting, Overproduction all occur in much the same ways as on a factory floor.  For example motion can be seen in walking, reaching, searching, questioning, interrupting.  Each of these activities cause delays and stress.  But we adapt and accept and live with the abnormal.  We just get used to it.
  3. Time is the inventory of the office.  Time piles up in our in-boxes and databases.  Time happens when work stops.  We run out of information, need a signature, find a mistake and then set that work aside and pick up some other job, file, task.  We keep busy.  But the thing we were working on sits and waits, the clock ticking away.

The “Visual Office” helps make the abnormal viable, finding where the wasted time is piling up isn’t easy, but that’s the mission of the visual office; making the piles of time visible, and then once we can see the inventory of time we just might get uncomfortable enough and creative enough to go and do something to reduce the inventory, and speed up the flow.


Here are a couple references …