A “shadowboard” is a common method in the Toyota Production System. It is a “5S” method where an outline or solid “shadow” is drawn behind where a tool would go on a board, bench, or table. With the shadowboard, it is easy to tell where tools go and when something is missing (a key element of visual management).
The picture at left shows a surgical kit I saw today, being prepped for pre-surgical sterilization. This is a very fancy version of a shadowboard, but you can see that the screwdriver has not yet been replaced in the lower right corner of the box (click on the photo for a larger version).
Shadowboards don’t have to be so fancy. In my last manufacturing job, we wanted to mark where a heavy duty glove was stored for a production oven. The glove was laying on the right spot on the white-topped bench, so I took a permanent marker and drew an outline. Effective, albeit not real flexible if they decided the glove should be in a diferent place (kaizen). It shook the team up a bit, in a positive way, and inspired them to take some intelligent risks with some other improvements.