Following on from tip #5 is the second technique for driving the benefits identified in this 7% solution series. We have moved on now to establishing countermeasures so that the practical process improvement and performance management steps outlined in the first part of the series will make a real difference.
The previous article looked at Standard Operating Procedures and the benefits of agreeing efficient and consistent methods for processes. The next logical step is to reinforce behaviours by using visual clues, by way of signage and markings.
There are many reasons why we have become used to seeing prominent visual clues around our work, social or recreational environments. In daily life we see the many ways that service providers use every available space or moment to get a brand or sales message across. Employers often use signage across their networks to impact or create a company culture. Health and safety regulations also require many signs or alert messages to be made visually prominent in the workplace, as well as on our roads, pavements and parks.
In the operational workspace, as well as regulatory signage, we, as employees, have also become very familiar with bar code labels. We see bar codes at the item level, but also represented in large overhead signs to indicate staging areas such as despatch lanes, for example. The benefits of visual cues to reinforce a written rule, or to enhance understanding are both established and long-standing and the examples above demonstrate the scope of their use.
So tip #6 is to use visual clues and signage in the workplace to bring your SOPs to life. At the critical points in your processes think about how visual clues will improve conformance, quality or consistency. It could be floor markings, alert signs or visual representation of quality standards.
The basis of an effective performance management system is the ability to define ‘what good looks like’. Process improvements need to be adopted consistently across teams in order for benefits to be realised and signage is an aid to getting the message across. When you have aligned your Standard Operating Procedures and your visual clues you have a powerful toolset for managing consistency in operations and raising standards of quality, service and performance.