The Lean Management System: Visual Controls

Picking up from last month’s discussion of the four principle elements of the Lean Management System, this month’s column will focus on the second element — visual controls. The four elements that make up a lean management system...


There is no question that asking employees to take a few minutes per shift to record performance data requires far less overhead than the cost of computer systems and support resources needed to automate data collection to track process performance. But, beyond the financial implications, is the soft benefit that no computer system can calculate. These are the benefits from increasing the level of involvement of employees in observing, analyzing and improving the processes in which they work everyday.

Overall, visual controls not only heighten focus on process and accountability for that focus, they also provide the foundation for a far greater level of employee involvement than could any other reporting system. For lean to truly be a process improvement system, that kind of involvement is essential.

If you would like to contribute your insights or suggestions, please email them to me at Derrick_Wright@Baxter.Com.

Derrick Wright, CPP, is the security manager for Baxter Healthcare, Cherry Hill, N.J. With more than 19 years of progressively higher management experience in a highly regulated pharmaceutical manufacturing environment, he has built a converged security program that focuses on top-of-mind business issues as well as technology interoperability to support improved business processes. Derrick is a member of the Security Executive Council and the Convergence Council of the Open Security Exchange (OSE), where he provides insight and direction for working group activities.