sábado, 13 de diciembre de 2014

Andon System (行灯 - システム) – The Real Visual Management tool.

I have studied many Visual Management Deployments on several manufacturing factories, and I have found a big misunderstanding of Visual Management tool, this have called my attention  on the last days due the company where I’m consulting is a manufacturing plant with more than 30 CNC , Lathes , ,Metal stamping and bending machines.

One of the big opportunities this company had;  was related to the lack of Visual Management, therefore, I teached them about the ANDON system and when they implemented the full process, more than 80% of the Idle Time on Machine was eliminated, the defects where reduced 10% , down time was reduced 30% etc.


I encouraged them to see the operators as surgeon in operation room , and the engineers (Quality , Manufacturing , Production etc.) to assist the operators like nurses help the surgeon.

Many companies think they have Visual Management, but instead they have, Genba white Boards Reports , that, do not promotes the Management Operation Actions as many Lean practitioners may think.

The numbers on that white boars just tell the history of the yesterday day , like an autopsy report , noting to do just  cry if numbers are bad or celebrate if the numbers are ok.

To install white boards on Genba; just attack the information flow from PC systems reports ( KPI’s) to people awareness;  but hardly promotes actions on real times to fix a problem on real moment - time ; like the ANDON system does.

Visual Management is: the act or skill of controlling and making decisions about a manufacturing business operations.

The Visual Management objectives are:

          Addresses performance issues and keeps people focused on the real job that add value.

          Helps people feel, see, hear, and touch problems, potential defects, and enhance actions required to gain competitive advantage and improve performance.

          Improve the operator performance by use of signals that alert the support of Quality , Engineering , Maintenance and Supervisors.

Therefore, none Visual Management Deployment is complete if you don’t have both: Communication Genba Boards  and ANDON lights system in place.

The team and the Lean Managers should analyze how effective the White boards deployed are on floor. Are the white board and information adding real value? Or where those White boards implemented just because the corporate says do it; if the last is the case, then you have Lean Fake only.


In other hand there are implementation of White Boards that enhance the operations efficiency, those are a real tool for Operation Management, those are value add.

The ANDON system efficiency is in terms of how well the 6 big losses have been reduced, in other words, you should measure the ANDON implementation effectiveness, based on Idle Machine Time Reduction, Operator Waiting Time Reduction, Changeover Reduction, Defects Reduction ect.


The Visual Management and especially the ADON system, needs discipline and Management Empowerment and it is not easy not at all; but the benefices are wonderful.

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