Manufacturing businesses need to ensure that audits are consistently conducted across each step and every step of their production process. After all, failing to audit production processes on a regular basis can result in safety hazards and quality defects, resulting in compliance-related headaches. Therefore, manufacturers have adopted various ways to visualize production and ensure that workers execute tasks according to the stipulated guidelines.

One of the most popular way to track and visualize key production activities is through the implementation of kamishibai boards on the shop floor.

In this post, we’ll discuss the kamishibai methodology and how manufacturers are using kamishibai boards to track their operations and improve productivity.

What are kamishibai boards?

Kamishibai boards are a lean manufacturing tool used to visualize data in manufacturing facilities and track the status of various activities happening across a production process.

Originally adopted from the Toyota Production System, the kamishibai methodology in manufacturing is based on the ancient ‘paper drama’ practice in 12th century Japan, also known as kamishibai. The practice involves using paper objects in staged drama to impart moral lessons to illiterate citizens. They saw the figures as a standard and tried to emulate them.

Not only do kamishibai boards enable supervisors to confirm the successful execution of given activities, but they also make it possible to improve the standards in the production process by ensuring frequent, consistent audits are taking place.

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How does kamishibai work?

Kamishibai boards – often located near workstations or specific process-pertinent areas – are designed to provide vital information at a glance. This is because the standards-auditing system utilizes kamishibai cards (also known as T-card) to provide information on particular processes happening across the factory floor.

The cards display various tasks executed in the factory. Double-sided, the kamishibai card is green on one side and red on the other. When displayed on the board, the green color signifies a completed task. On the other hand, the red color shows that the task wasn’t completed due to a setback.

A manager or supervisor can tell there’s an incomplete process just by looking at the card. For this reason, the kamishibai board is best placed near the place of operation, allowing the supervisor to offer corrective action and improve processes over time.

Benefits of using a kamishibai board

Manufacturers install kamishibai boards in their factories for several reasons. Some of the benefits of kamishibai include:

  • A kamishibai board provides a simple but ideal and effective method for detecting variations in a standard routine or task in the factory.

  • The board allows a manufacturer to promptly correct any detected anomalies and faults in the standard tasks.

  • The board’s presence means that managers take regular gemba walks throughout the factory. This ensures that supervisors are being notified of pressing frontline issues and can help find a solution more quickly.

  • Identifying and correcting issues creates shared responsibility and commitment between factory-level employees and managerial personnel.

Ultimately, proper use of kamishibai boards leads to continuous improvement of production processes within a manufacturing facility.

Uses of kamishibai boards in a production environment

To achieve the benefits detailed earlier, manufacturing businesses deploy kamishibai boards in various ways in the production plant.

The different uses include:

Auditing vital production processes after regular time intervals

Manufacturers need their production processes to work efficiently and correctly, ensuring quality products for their customers. One way to ensure this is achieved is by using kamishibai cards on a board to ensure necessary process audits are taking place at regular intervals.

But because the entire manufacturing process usually comprises several tasks, managers often find it challenging to audit the entire process. As such, the board contains a few sub-processes and tasks as the audit’s focus.

These audits can be weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on the tasks of interest.

Carrying out preventive maintenance

Although kamishibai boards aren't involved with the granular details of specific production tasks and processes, they’re still ideal for initiating preventive maintenance on the factory floor.

This is mainly because managers are interested in the overall standards used in the various production tasks. As managers and supervisors track the standards used, they can pinpoint potential areas of substandard production.

In several instances, bringing the work back to the standard requires the factory equipment to work at optimal effectiveness. Consequently, workers carry out preventive maintenance to ensure no substandard work in the production process.

Providing a template for effective Gemba walks

Managers usually take walks through the factory to review progress and check the status of various activities. These walks are often referred to as gemba walks. However, these walks would be aimless because the manager might not be aware of the finer tasks making up the various production processes.

Therefore, looking at a kamishibai card on the board allows managers to visualize different processes executed along the production line. And because managers randomly pick out a kamishibai card from the board, they can easily follow the standard work, making their audits more comprehensive.

Digitizing visual management with Tulip

While lean methodologies have been implemented within manufacturing facilities for many decades, the growing market of digital solutions has enabled businesses to improve and further optimize their lean manufacturing practices.

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Screenshot of Kamishibai Dashboard in Tulip

With a platform solution like Tulip, manufacturers are able to implement an ecosystem of applications across their operations to automate data collection across the various activities happening across the shop floor.

As a result, supervisors are able to visualize production in real-time using interactive dashboards that display the status of various tasks. Managers can then use the information collected across various audits to quickly identify the source of issues and recommend corrective action to ensure the problem is addressed.

Improve the way you visualize production with Tulip

Learn how manufacturers are making their operations more lean and enabling continuous improvement with real-time, digital dashboards.

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