Visuals and a Bit of Drama

Labels, lines, and shadows have little personality. Their job is largely around identification, location, and quantity.

Visual performance metrics provide insight into the health of a process or value stream by comparing actual performance versus target within the context of people, quality, delivery, and cost.

Andons are dynamic in nature. They visually (and often audibly) signal abnormal conditions and trigger problem-solving...or at least, most immediately, problem containment.

We could go on and on about the various types of visuals and visual management systems. Their job is to be self-explaining, typically worker-managed, self-correcting things that:

  • inform,
  • align,
  • highlight abnormal conditions,
  • prompt lean behaviors (including adherence), and
  • spur problem-solving.

It's not often that someone comes up with a visual that one could characterize as dramatic or entertaining.

As far as I know, there are no rules against that! In fact, it can be a good thing relative to attention-getting, imparting a desired message, and fostering certain behavior(s).

A friend and colleague recently captured such a visual on camera while on the road (at least he wasn't driving and texting!). As he stated in the email that had the following picture attached, "[n]o question here on the potential consequences of not following the standard while passing this guy."

I can't agree more. That, and the pun within the visual ain't too bad, either.

What do you think?

Related posts: Another Classic Lean Question – “Do You See What I See?”Effective Visual Controls Are Self-Explaining, Airline Carrier’s Visual Management – Branding and LOL

There are 8 Comments

John B's picture

Understandable and to the point. No need for explaination. THX!

markrhamel's picture

Hi John,

Thanks for the comment. It sure would make me think before passing...on the right.

Best regards,

Chris Jacobs's picture

It looks like this truck is driving in the left lane. In other words, there is only one way for another "operator" to get past and that way is "suicide"! (or at least non-conformance to the standard). I can't help but think that even though the operatoror in back may "want" to adhere to the process, they may feel there is no other way to get by so they take a chance. In other words, the operator (the following vehicle) and the Management (truck) all need to design the process to obtain the same goal (no non-conformances). The truck needs to not drive in the left lane so that the following vehicle can actually pass on the left.

markrhamel's picture


Good observation and excellent points!

Given the solid lane marker, I think that the left lane in which the truck is traveling is either merging from another roadway or is going to eventually hit some sort of left-sided off ramp. If that's not the case, then there truly is an abnormal condition - out of spec road design! Of course, we'll never really know unless and until we go to the gemba.

Best regards,

markrhamel's picture


Well said! Yes, we seemingly all take the visual controls that relate to the automobile for granted. The visuals and visual systems have entered the conscious and subconscious and usually make driving safer and easier. Unfortunately, this type of universal acceptance of visual management has yet to extend to the workplace. I think that your leadership challenge is well articulated.

Best regards,

david fernandez's picture

Interesting and very entertaining as always. I hope his insurance company is OK with the signage...

markrhamel's picture

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the comment!

Ah yes, the insurance company. Good visuals are self-explaining, worker-managed, self-correcting, and, when necessary, insurance company-approved!

Best regards,

andrew bishop's picture

The visual controls and standards associated with driving are great reference points for teaching, bringing the lesson down to earth and into common experience: the double yellow line in the middle of the road, the white stripes in the parking lot, the red octagon. We all live with visually expressed standards every day. Our job as teachers of lean (well, one of our jobs...) is to get people to open their minds to the power of visually expressed standards in a new setting: the world of work.