10 Rules for a Successful Meeting

10 Meeting Rules Featured Image


10 Rules for a Successful
Visual Management Meeting

Meeting around Visual Management Boards

VMT have developed, designed, and produced Visual Management boards that have made up many high performing Visual Management Centres, Obeya or War Rooms over the years.

From our background working as Engineers and Managers at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, as Lean consultants and working with our clients to develop and supply Visual Management Centres we have developed a strong understanding of how a successful stand-up Visual Management meeting should run.

There are some key behaviours and elements that are usually seen in a successful meeting and we thought it would be a good idea to share these in this blog. In no particular order:

1 .  The person responsible for updating the board should do so before the meeting and keep updated in between meetings.

This is important as it ensures there isn’t wasted time during the meeting spent waiting whilst the responsible person updates the board. Some meetings can have large numbers of people in involved and those minutes wasted are amplified by the number of people in attendance.

2 . Prepare anything to be raised in the meeting beforehand and where possible make other relevant parties aware.

Good preparation means that it is more likely that facts and data will be discussed rather than opinions and theories improvised on the spot. People don’t like surprises and catching people off guard might cause upset or cause contention that will have a negative impact on the meeting and the mood of those involved.

3 . Respect the other meeting attendees.

Everyone at the meeting should be there to do their best and make a positive contribution. Undermining, criticising, interrupting, or making accusations will show a lack of respect that will damage the team ethos of a stand-up Visual Management meeting.

4 . Be punctual and plan to attend the whole meeting.

Arriving late or leaving the meeting early shows a lack of respect and understanding of the importance of the meeting. It can also cause interruption to the speaker and cause a distraction that can impact the quality of the discussion and any actions being agreed.

5 . No food or drink in the meeting.

Seems trivial but everyone should be fully focussed on what is being said in the meeting. An efficient meeting should be concise in time so the urgency to grab a quick drink or eat breakfast shouldn’t be there as there is plenty of other available time during the day.

6 . Switch off phones or set to silent.

A phone ringing during a meeting is an interference it disrupts the flow of the meeting and interrupts the speaker. By and large most calls can wait for the short period of time that the meeting is taking up.

7 . Keep to the point and stick to facts.

By staying focussed on the subject matter at hand we minimise the risk of overrun of time by talking about matters not related to the point. Sticking to facts keeps the conversation constructive and professional and mitigates the chance of disagreements caused by using opinions and theories. Any discussions that are important but veer away from the subject at hand should be discussed outside of the meeting by the relevant parties.

8 . Make sure that issues are clearly defined, and actions are clear.

Issues that are added to the board should be understandable by all, such that if the whole team became unavailable for some unforeseen reason, a new team could step in, understand, and pick up the issue. The same applies for actions, they should be specific enough that someone can understand the exact next event taking place. These specific actions might form a longer chain that need to be enacted to resolve the issue.

9 . One person should speak at a time.

Everyone in a Visual Management stand-up meeting should have the opportunity to be heard. Ensuring only one person speaks at a time ensures no-one is undermined and there is less disruption to the flow and structure of the meeting.

10 . Make a note of actions to take away from the meeting.

Actions might be assigned during the course of the meeting; it is important that these are noted by the assigned actioner so that progress can be made on the action before the next meeting so there is minimal slippage. There is no excuse to make progress against the action as the assignee will have agreed to the action at the meeting.

Standing Up Meeting around visual management boards - SIKA

Changeover Shadow Board



shadow board on a A frame, holding changeover parts

VMT develop, design and manufacture bespoke Changeover parts Shadow Boards for varying clients and applications. We have a long history of supplying Changeover parts Shadow Boards to support SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) processes in industries such as Food and Drink, Pharmaceutical and volume manufacturing.

What is SMED

SMED or Single Minute Exchange of Die is a Lean production method of reducing the time taken to changeover from one run, batch or product to another. The Single Minute phrase indicates that the target is to reduce changeover times to single digits (under 10 minutes). A die is a tool used in manufacturing (such as metal stamping or plastic moulding) but the die can refer to a set of parts or jigs that are used in a repeated frequency to produce a part or perform a function.

How do Changeover Parts Shadow Boards help with SMED?

One of the most important techniques to support SMED implementation is separating the internal and external set up and where possible convert internal to external. External actions can be undertaken without the need for the line or machine to be stopped, internal can only be performed with the line or machine stopped. Conversion of internal to external might involve the build up of sub-assemblies or loosely tightening fixings ahead of the changeover.

Ensuring the parts for the next run are all accounted for and in good condition should be an external action – it can happen whilst the machine is running, a Changeover Parts Shadow Board provides a platform for keeping the parts in good condition and ensuring all parts are accounted for. Putting the parts back onto the Shadow Board is also an external action which can happen once the machine is back up and running again.

VMT are able to supply Changeover parts Shadow Boards on mobile frames, reducing the distance between machine and parts storage. This means there is minimal time required to position the parts into the machine during the changeover process helping to reduce the internal set up times and support the SMED principle.

Are there other benefits to using a Changeover Parts Shadow Board?

Along with supporting SMED implementation the use of Changeover Parts Shadow Boards has other operational benefits.

  • A Changeover parts shadow board provides secure visual storage for the parts required for the next production run.
  • Training of new team members is supported as parts are grouped together and can be named with the inclusion of part names printed on the Shadow Board helping with any complicated terminology or naming.
  • Storing important pieces of machinery and tooling on Changeover Shadow Boards places value on this equipment and encourages team members to treat this equipment with consideration and care.
  • PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance) is supported as equipment can quickly be visually inspected and if needed basic maintenance/lubrication can be actioned.

How can VMT help me create a Changeover Parts Shadow Board?

For a small charge which can be added to the cost of the Shadow Board, VMT provide an onsite design service so we can ensure that intricate or heavy machine parts are accurately surveyed so that the storage of your Changeover parts on you Shadow Board is accurate and safe. Or, if you would prefer to save a little bit of cost on we can provide detailed instructions on how to send us the information we need to create accurate shadows of the Changeover parts.

If the Shadow Board is to be provided on a mobile frame, we will send a 3D concept drawing with sizes so you can see an accurate representation of what the final solution will look like.

For more information please visit our Shadow Boards page, or get in touch here.

5 Reasons to use a Shadow Board



Micrometer Shadow Board on an A frame

VMT develop, design, and produce bespoke Shadow Board solutions for a many applications and industries. Shadow boards, a key Visual Management tool, can be used for visually storing hand tools, machine changeover parts, critical spares, consumables and more.

We have a long history of supplying bespoke Shadow Boards for factories, warehouses, train maintenance depots and more.

We thought it would be useful for us to share some of the key benefits we have either seen ourselves or our clients tell us they have experienced, here are 5 reasons to use a shadow board

1. Reduce time searching for tools with a Shadow Board

Many of our clients engage with us as they have become so busy delivering the service or product to their client that their internal processes and control have begun to suffer. This can be especially true of control of tooling.

In busy factories teams may share tools and when there is no clear home location for tooling it can be difficult to track down that in demand tool, this can lead to frustration and lost time for the user as they spend non value-added time looking for the tool.

This is never more evident than in tool drawers that have no foam visual tool control in place, where trying to find one tool amongst many is very difficult – we have even produced a video to outline this very point.

Placing tools and parts on a Shadow Board means that tools always have a visible home location (and if the behaviours are in place) once a tool is no longer in use it should be easy to locate for the user saving the user time when he might have been searching.

2. Reduce SMED machine part changeover times.

The use of a Shadow Board for SMED processes allows a visual confirmation before a machine or piece of equipment is stopped that the all the changeover parts (for the next product) are available and ready before the machine is switched off. This minimises the downtime of the machine and helps with the target of reducing the minutes taken to complete the changeover to single minutes.

Often, we supply SMED Shadow Boards as mobile units so they can be positioned close to the machine so that any movement required to move (sometimes heavy) parts is minimised. The use of a hand tool Shadow Board close to (sometimes inside the machine guarding) the changeover point also ensures any tooling required to complete the changeover are always available exactly when needed and there is no further delay while the operator locates a particular tool.

3. Follow key Lean 5S principles

Integrating 5S into your organisation for the first time is never easy as operators need to think differently and be prepared to modify their behaviours which have in many cases taken years of formation. The use of a Shadow Board supports the introduction of the 5S process by making it easier for operators to follow the key principles. 

Once only the tools or kit to complete a job have been identified and any unnecessary items removed, the useful items can be SET (Second S) in place and the process will be SUSTAINED (Fifth S) as the items will always have a home where they are visually stored. When Shadow Boards are implemented across an organisation it also helps to ensure a STANDARDISED (Fourth S) approach to tool storage, helping operators to integrate when they are moved or switched across processes.

4. Integrate Visual Management into your workplace

When Visual Management has been well integrated into a workplace, it should be easy to “read” the workplace. A visitor walking into a particular workplace can understand what is happening, what the performance is like, how the process is performed and what items are needed to perform the process.

 Storing tools and equipment with a Shadow Board helps with the last point of ensuring that the tools needed to perform the process are clearly identifiable and easy to locate. Visual Management is also intended to trigger an action in a process (a green traffic light triggers the movement of traffic), in our case a shadow of a missing tool triggers a user or operator to place a tool that has been in use but is no longer required, back on the Shadow Board and cover the shadow.

Shadow Boards on a wall, holding lifting tackle, chains, slings and clamps

5. Increase lifespan of tooling and equipment with a Shadow Board

Firstly, we have had feedback from many of our clients who have rolled out Shadow Boards across their organisation that they have reduced expenditure of tooling and consumables. When tools have a home, especially a visual home it is much less likely for the tools to go missing. Also, if the culture is right, the use of a Shadow Board means that effort will be made to locate the missing tool, without the use of a Shadow Board it can be easy to give up easily and order a new item. 

Secondly, storing tools and equipment on a shadow board means that when not in use the item is safely stored away from possible contamination or impact from other tools being dropped on them as might be seen in tool drawers (without visual tool control). This gives peace of mind to an organisation that equipment that is either carefully calibrated (measuring equipment) or safety critical (lifting equipment) is looked after responsibly. 

Hopefully, this blog has been useful in outlining why many of the UKs largest manufacturing companies have engaged with Visual Management Technology to supply them with market leading Shadow Board solutions. If you would like to learn more please visit our shadow boards page or get in touch

Maintenance Tooling Shadow Boards

Maintenance Tooling Shadow Boards

At VMT, we believe that only the tools needed for the process need to be visually stored on our Shadow Boards. But, in a complex and busy maintenance area where there is a demand for varied and bespoke workflow, the need for a comprehensive kit of tooling is paramount. VMT ensures that our Shadow Boards’ design layout is logical, ergonomic, and makes the best use of available space.

The Shadow Boards shown here do have a large amount of hand-tooling stored. But the visual nature makes this storage much more efficient for day to day use than, for example, the tools being stored away in tool chests. It is immediately apparent when a tool is in use or missing as there is a shadow in place of the tool.

Changeover Shadow Boards

Shadow Boards

Changeover Shadow Boards

Are you looking to decrease changeover times, reduce errors or support standardised work in your operations? VMT can support with Shadow Boards for vital tooling, parts and equipment, no matter how complex.

VMT are market leaders in supplying tooling and equipment shadow boards such as these for Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery. We have expertise in ensuring that complex changeover parts and equipment are securely, efficiently and visually stored away.

These Visual Management tools are vital in removing wasted time gathering equipment in a changeover process and support SMED (Single Minute Exchange Die) processes.

Safety Archway

Safety Archway's

Safety First – VMT Safety Archway’s, a Visual Management safety solution. 

VMT recently supplied our automotive client with this Safety Archway sign. 

Our forward-thinking client shows with this Visual Management solution that Safety comes first at their facility, and they wish to show their team members that they have a part to play in their own and everyone else’s welfare.

Walking through the safety archway cannot fail to impact the thinking of the person walking into a facility and might be enough to prompt raising a near-miss concern or taking action after spotting a safety hazard.

Visual Management War Room & Obeya

Visual Management for the shop floor.

Obeya & Visual Management for the Shop Floor

VMT supply our clients’ with Obeya & Visual Management solutions to best support their unique needs and environment. This Visual Management centre for Metrolink Manchester puts the visuals out on the shop floor where the performance and organisational information can be seen and acted on. 

VMT can supply Visual Management centre’s that allow provision for large screens. We also carefully include client branding in our Visual Management centre’s where appropriate.

Visual Management Tool Drawer Foam Inserts

Tool Drawer Foam.

Tool Drawer Foam is an excellent Visual Management tool for businesses and operations that use a mix of tooling daily that needs to be stored away when not in use.  

Visual Management Tool Drawer Foam helps to:

– Ensure only the correct tooling is stored.

– Support a 5S process by setting a standard to be sustained.

– Save time wasted searching through the clutter and unorganised parts and tools.

If you are storing tools and equipment in drawers or cabinets and would like to take a Visual Management approach to save time and support a 5S approach, get in touch! 


Train Maintenance Shadow Boards

Train Station Visual Tool Storage

It was great to visit Northern Rail Newton Heath train maintenance depot (TMD) yesterday and see the small part our bespoke Lean Shadow Boards are playing in ensuring tooling and equipment is always to hand for Train Maintenance and Exams.

We are looking forward to continuing our work with Northern as they begin work in their new Shed for the new CAF stock they are introducing. 

VMT supplies Lean Visual Tool Storage solutions for tooling and equipment to ensure no time is wasted searching for equipment or parts.

Back-Lit Visual Management

VMT - Back-lit Visual Management Boards.

VMT now offer our Lean Printed Visual Management Boards with the option to be supplied backlit. Backlighting the boards helps to:

-Draw attention to important company information.

-Give immediate & simple visual feedback of overall health or performance, which is now more important than ever.

-Make a showcase of Lean Visual Management.