101 Kaizen Templates: Production Control Board

The hourly production control board, otherwise known as the hour by hour chart, is used to monitor the progress or output of a process against plan. The advantage of this kaizen template is in its simplicity, near real time performance tracking. It promotes the management behavior of going to the gemba to understand the situation.

Why Check at Hourly Intervals?

This hourly status control chart is just one example. The time intervals can be modified to be longer or shorter. This depends on the process. For high speed, high volume processes, it can make sense to track performance every five, ten or fifteen minutes. For lower volume processes, checking performance status every two hours may be enough.

Start Simple and Hands-on

The production control board should be on a piece of paper or erasable board placed directly at the workplace. In a u-shaped cell the hourly production board would be at the opening of the cell where the process starts and ends. Some prefer computerized monitoring system. We always recommend starting with pen and paper. Let’s learn to walk before we learn to skip rope.

The Area Leader Updates the Board

The output per check cycle (hourly, every 2 hours, etc.) should be updated by the line leader or designated person. The supervisor of the area would check these boards at certain intervals. She writes her name or initials signifying that she has grasped the reasons for any delays, countermeasures are in effect, that the problem has been escalated to the next level of management support.

Identifying and writing down the problems is only the first step: the organization must have the will and the means to address these issues or else it is not kaizen and people will stop using this.

Hourly Production Control Boards and Daily Management

The hourly production control board plays a key role in lean daily management. As organizations progress in their understanding and practice of lean management, daily production meetings shift from reports in the office to “go see” on the gemba. The meetings become briefer and more productive visits to the production control boards.

These boards help to immediately reveal the current status of production, issues of the previous shift and what is actually being done about it. Data can tell stories but it is hard to argue with facts, and that is why the production control board should always be placed near the facts.

5 Comments

  1. Ron Pereira

    March 14, 2008 - 7:40 am
    Reply

    Jon, during my visit through the Toyota Kyushu plant this week in Japan I saw their electronic board. It had 4 numbers on it.
    1) What the daily production goal was
    2) How many cars they should have produced at that point in time (the plan)
    3) How many cars they have actually produced at that point in time (the actual)
    4) The ratio of actual to plan in a percentage.
    Very simple. Very powerful.

  2. Anna

    March 14, 2008 - 11:25 am
    Reply

    Two words- “awe” + “some”.

  3. Chris Nicholls

    March 15, 2008 - 2:06 am
    Reply

    Hi Jon
    Thanks for your post, a Production Performance board at the end of each cell is a very simple but effective way to visualise real time result against plan.
    At Ricoh we have some production lines with plasma TV screens in the Gemba displaying minute by minute results electronically gathered directly from the equipment through RFID and signals from PLC’s or computer interfaces. I still find that the simple piece of paper filled out by the team involved is a very powerful tool in our visualisation and engagement approach. The simple piece of paper or whiteboard don’t breakdown or need an expert to adjust it when there’s a change to the plan or the process. The team take responsibility for it and ownership of the process
    I’m also a firm advocate of the KISS acronym
    Best regards
    Chris

  4. Mike Fraser

    January 3, 2011 - 8:05 am
    Reply

    Hello, Does anyone have an example of a production control board used in a hospital setting?
    Thanks,
    Mike

  5. Nancy

    May 19, 2011 - 1:07 pm
    Reply

    Our management team has engaged our “help” (Production Support) to describe what kind of info we would want to see on the boards. What besides daily production numbers and performace %’s would be effective or even relevant? I’m at a loss………I think I’m overanalyzing, but we track these things now and still they’re asking for “more”………

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *