At that Mexican Restaurant Franchise, my wife and I have grown a little too fond of the Cafe Rio Salad – we like it so much that we go there several times a month. I like to get their Pork Barbeque Salad, while my wife likes to order the Vegetarian (veggie) Salad. Every other ingredient on the salad is the same, except for the main ingredient – pork or veggie. So, in an assembly line like you see below, how can the next person in the line quickly tell what should and should not be in the salad?
That’s right. The Simple Visual Management System they use is a simple colored piece of tinfoil they place on the salad, so the next server down the assembly line can see, decide, and act without having to hesitate or even ask questions.
The picture above shows a piece of tinfoil with a blue line, which represents a Pork Salad. This tells the next person down the line the ingredients for a Pork Salad. For us, this person was able to serve quickly, efficiently, and I was very happy with my order.
One cannot underestimate the impact simple and effective visual management systems can have on an operation. In this case – or the case of any operation requiring fast service, visual management systems can improve the throughput and increase the quality. And, the best visual management systems are usually the simplest, easiest to understand, and the most affordable. In this case, cheap is usually better.