There's a series of airplane photos, of South Africa's Kalula Airlines, that have been going around the web, including being posted in some blogs as an example of the Lean principle of “visual management,” like this one:
It made me chuckle – it's cheeky, but it's not really “visual management.”
You can see all of the pictures here.
I hate to be a buzzkill, but there's much more to visual management and 5S than just labeling stuff in the workplace. Visual management makes problems detectable immediately. Is the label of “co-captain” used to do a visual check to make sure the plane doesn't have just one pilot before pushing back from the gate? I doubt it.
If the airline weren't just being cheeky, I'd likely criticize them for going overboard with “Airplane 5S” if they were calling it that.
Fun pictures, but not really a Lean example there.
In a somewhat related note, sometimes people think posting a hundred signs around the workplace saying “please remember” and “don't forget” counts as visual management or error proofing. Nope. That's one of the themes of a new keynote talk that I debuted at Cindy Jimmerson's Lean Healthcare West lean leadership conference recently:
I'm going to try to post some video of the talk soon and I'd love to bring it to your organization…
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