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An Overview of Visual Management at Toyota

by Andrew Quibell
October 20, 2016

An Overview of Visual Management at Toyota

by Andrew Quibell
October 20, 2016 | Comments (10)

Implementing visual management (VM) is a cornerstone of any lean transformation. And few companies know that better than Toyota. I was very fortunate to learn Toyota's approach to VM and see it applied and many times through my work as a Tier 1 supplier, and also within Toyota’s supplier organization BAMA. At Toyota's Georgetown plant in Kentucky, for example, everything you look at is monitored by VM. As an approach it is referred to as FMDS, or Floor Management Display Systems, and it has a strict framework to keep all visuals consistent. 

Deploying FMDS requires six elements, all in a particular sequence:

  1. Visualization of the standards
  2. Systems/priorities
  3. Section-level management
  4. Group-level management
  5. Kaizen/A3
  6. Change point management

But why is this necessary, you may ask. That seems like a lot of steps. The answer is in my sketch (and the animation that accompanies it). Here I’ve outlined the fundamentals of how visual management is viewed, sequenced, and deployed by Toyota. In my next sketch I will dive deeper into each of the above elements, what they involve, and how you can learn from them to improve your visual management’s efficacy too. Stay tuned.


The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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10 Comments | Post a Comment
Emmanuel October 20, 2016

Thank you Andrew.

Shall we keep translating MIERUKA (= vizualization) as Visual Management?

Reply »

Andrew Quibell October 20, 2016

I believe VM and the FMDS approach very much replicates and captures the intent of Mieruka...

It is informative, it is instructional, it helps drive identification of issues, problems and potential concerns and it drives the need for planning, a daily plan.

So yes I feel it translates well, but that just my opinion based on how I have used this in manufacturing.

Other folks may share a different perspective, so be your own judge and do what you feel is right, steal shamelessly these ideas, try it. 

Reply »

Freddy October 20, 2016


I also think Visual Management for MIERUKA (????) and FMDS for GENBA-KANRI(?????are a good translation.

These terms have complex meanings due to cultural context. The basis for these concepts are already presented in the japanese society, so with the right leadership is relative easier to implement and sustain.   

What is important is how we define these concepts  in our enviroment and context in order to acheive the desired targets.


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yep yep March 14, 2018

Yes that makes total sense.  Too much crap in one area for anyone to understand

Reply »

AL Robinson October 20, 2016

Thanks Andrew.

I too am begining to use visualization in my training and one-on-one with my team. 


Reply »

Marcos Pavani October 24, 2016

Excellent job and video. Congratulations. Would you allow me to present it to other people, refering your copyrights?

Reply »

Andrew Quibell October 24, 2016

Sure, this is about learning and sharing so please spread the message.

Reply »

Abrão Garcia October 24, 2016

Hey Andrew, very good post! i am working like a Toyota Supplier to improve our process and they talk so much about FMDS together with TPS, Toyota Way and Monozukuri. Thanks for your post! 

Reply »

Paulo Lozano December 02, 2016

FMDS is much more than visual management, it is a whole system for Daily Management made of specific systems, processes and behaviours expected to be in place by all shopfloor levels, from Team leader to Production Managers. There is even a means to compare the FMDS level among Toyota Plants. 

Reply »

muruganandam manickam September 08, 2018

can you share fmds at your area ,so that can have better understanding

Reply »

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