One of the key improvements we are making on our farm is the introduction of a lean tool called visualisation. This is about making things easy to understand using visual signs, symbols, colours, labels and so on. Visualisation is all around us in our everyday life. It helps us to grasp a situation quickly and make the right decision or action based on the visual information. Good visualisation helps someone to immediately understand what is required with out the need to have to go looking for a procedure manual or waste time asking how something should be done.
A visual farm will help you and your team to be better organised, prepared, productive, safe and get a better outcome. A simple lean tool that will drive significant benefits.
Some of the things we are working on to better visualise are our locations for farm vehicles/ implements, labels on our tanks, signs to explain some of our processes such as animal marking, speed signs, labels and arrows on our pipes to show what is going through them and in what direction and putting simple colour codes around cables etc to make it easy to understand which cable is inserted where for irrigators/ tractors etc.
Here are two incredibly simple and cheap examples of visualisation that can save time and make life easier on farm.
Mat came up with a great ideas to paint numbers on concrete slabs so that it is very easy and quick to see and calculate how much silage is left over.
Cost $20 in spray paint and plastic number stencils
Time: approx 15 minutes
Benefit: More accurate management and planning of feed resulting in potential savings in feed purchase/ allocation or ensuring that the right feed is available as required improving milk production. Potentially saving $1000’s
There are always several hoses that need to be plugged in and out of several ports when attaching things like irrigators or silage wagons. They all look the same – black, so it can be quite difficult particularly if a team member is new or it is dark to see which fitting should go where.
We put blue duct tape on the hydraulic hoses of our irrigator to clearly identify which hose gets fitted where.
Cost: $0.05 cents of duct tape
Time: 20 seconds
Benefit: saved time and frustration in mixing up hydraulic hoses and therefore having to get on and off tractor multiple times to change over until right, plus additional time dealing with pressurised hoses, having to release pressure before being able to take off easily.