Mieruka: The Four Different Types of Visuals with Examples
There are four main types of mieruka (visual control): informative, instructional, identification and planning. Here we discuss the purpose and definition of each category, and provide examples from Toyota's factories and service oriented companies. Part 2 of a series on mieruka/visual control.
By Karn G. Bulsuk
An introduction to mieruka: The three rules of effective visuals (mieruka)
Examples of mieruka from Toyota: Identification Examples, Informative Examples
The many types of mieruka (visual control or visual communication) can be classified into the “3I1P” or three I’s and one P: Identification, Informative, Instructional, and Planning. Combined with the three rules of mieruka, you will be able to effectively design visuals to serve their intended purpose.
Visuals which identify help to tell what something is. It may seem obvious, but when you have hundreds of unmarked boxes stacked up together, there is no way to tell what is inside them.
A common sight around a Toyota factory are instructions in the form of lines on shelves, signs and work instructions. They are designed to ensure operational consistency.
While Toyota is not against technology, they believe it still cannot completely replace the versatility and reliability of traditional, but reliable offline forms of planning. As a result, paper charts, reports and white boards are still a common sight around all Toyota entities, where they can be easily seen and modified.
The white board here shows a Gantt chart showing a project plan. Note that the lines used to designate period of a task is actually a sheet magnet cut into different lengths for this purpose.
- Definition: helps you to know what something is
- Forms seen: labels and stickers
- Definition: gives you important information in one area, to update status or situation
- Forms seen: information walls, charts, informative sheets and diagrams
- Definition: tells you how to perform a task
- Forms seen: work instructions, lines on floors, signs
- Definition: helps you to plan and let others to see what the plan is
- Forms seen: Gantt charts, white board walls