C’mon, Man! Dig Deeper.

Is this good visual management?

I was walking by this small town hardware store the other day and noticed that the window on their door was covered with several signs including the store hours, credit cards they accept and the like.  One message jumped out at me though.


What do you think when you see this sign?  I couldn’t help but to think about visual management in our factories.

PUSH HARD is an obvious and even humorous example of communicating the wrong message.  These guys have identified a problem and a surface level solution.  While they are able to use visual management to communicate their message, it’s the wrong message.  They have not addressed the root cause and they have put an unnecessary band-aid on the problem.

How often though do we do the same thing when problem solving issues in our manufacturing plants?  Anytime you see a countermeasure that says in essence, try harder, it’s time to dig deeper.  Do you really have the root causes?  Is try harder really an effective and sustainable countermeasure?

Try harder probably is not a long term solution to many issues yet all too often it is the response to Safety, Quality and other failures.  Be careful.  Watch out for defects.  These solutions are often quicker and easier than the best solutions.

As a Lean Leader, you need to make sure your team does good 5-Why’s and implements effective countermeasures.  Dig deeper even though it’s hard work.

How valuable is visual management if you convey the wrong message?


The Lean Leadership Blog has several posts on 5-Whys which you can see here.

Please leave a comment below if you liked this article. You can also connect on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, subscribe via e-mail (right side bar), retweet, digg, or stumble this article.  You can check out my Facebook page and continue the discussion there as well.  Your feedback is appreciated.

About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
This entry was posted in 5 Why Root Cause Analysis and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to C’mon, Man! Dig Deeper.

  1. gregsteggerda says:

    This is all the easier to do when the root cause and solution seem to be beyond our control – in another department maybe – and of course the bandaid is always in easy reach.

    • That’s a good point, Greg. There are times when the easy out is to point at another department or headquarters. There is often a cheaper and better solution in our control. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  2. Love it, Christian! Agree 100 % and will share it on my “How can we make manufacturing sexy?” Facebook page…. 😉

  3. Pingback: C’mon, Man! Dig Deeper. | Lean Leadership « The Lean Blog

  4. Renee' says:

    What a great point here. It is easier to blame the door than to consider fixing the door. What a great post that will be staying with me for a while. You are officially bookmarked for weekly reading. I look forward to reading more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s