SQDCM Visual Management Boards for Continuous Improvement

As a visual management board, SQDCM aids in monitoring and enhancing manufacturing performance. The board provides a visual representation of performance metrics across five key areas: Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale. A SQDCM board enables teams to identify issues, track progress, and implement corrective actions swiftly. SQDCM boards promote transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement across all aspects of operations.

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A Balanced Scorecard can track safety to ensure a comprehensive approach to monitoring and improving workplace safety. Organisations can effectively analyse how the safety metrics perform to prioritise risk mitigation and drive continuous improvement initiatives.

Safety KPI in SQDCM
Quality Metrics in SQDCM board


Manufacturers can use a Balanced Scorecard to analyse quality metrics to gain insights into product quality, process efficiency and customer satisfaction. Tracking metrics like defect rates, customer complaints, and adherence to standards enhances the overall quality of processes.


Delivery metrics within a Balanced Scorecard comprehensively evaluate a manufacturer's supply chain efficiency and reliability. These metrics encompass on-time delivery, lead time, and order fulfilment, offering insights into the timeliness and effectiveness of delivering products to customers.

Delivery KPI in Visual Management Board
Cost metric in Visual management system


Cost is a key metric in the Balanced Scorecard framework used by organisations to align business activities with their vision and strategy. Cost as a metric in this perspective helps measure and manage the efficiency of business processes, control expenses, and optimise resource allocation. It allows organisations to ensure profitability and sustainability.

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Various business, government, and non-profit organisations use the balanced scorecard to align day-to-day activities with enterprise vision, mission, and values.

Morale KPI in Visual Planning Board


Morale, as a metric in the Balanced Scorecard, reflects job satisfaction, teamwork, employee retention, and organisational culture. Declines in morale indicators can serve as early warning signs of potential organisational issues, such as leadership challenges, cultural issues, or inadequate support for employee development.

What is a SQDCM Board?

A SQDCM board, often used in manufacturing environments, is a visual management tool that displays Key Performance Indicators related to Safety (S), Quality (Q), Delivery (D), Cost (C), and Morale (M). SQDCM board serves as a central communication hub for teams, providing real-time visibility into performance targets and progress. The board typically includes colour-coded indicators to track accident rates, defect counts, on-time delivery, production costs, and employee satisfaction. This visual management board facilitates continuous improvement efforts by fostering transparency, accountability, and collaboration among team members, ultimately driving operational excellence and productivity.

Why are SQDCM Boards important?

SQDCM board is an essential visual management tool in lean manufacturing and other industries. They provide a concise snapshot of performance in critical areas—Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale—promoting transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement. Through clear visualisation and real-time tracking, SQDCM boards enable teams to identify enhancement areas, make data-driven decisions, and foster a culture of excellence and efficiency.
Benefits of a SQDCM board include:

  • Enhanced transparency and accountability
  • Improved communication and collaboration among team members
  • Real-time monitoring of Key Performance Indicators
  • Identification of improvement areas and waste reduction
  • Promotes a continuous improvement culture
  • Increased employee engagement and morale through visibility of progress
  • Alignment of team efforts with organisational goals and objectives
  • Facilitation of data-driven decision-making processes
  • Enhanced safety awareness and incident prevention
  • Assessment of production processes and resource allocation

How are SQDCM Boards used in Lean Manufacturing?

In Lean manufacturing, SQDCM boards are crucial visual management tools for tracking and improving performance across Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale. Teams use SQDCM boards to display key metrics, such as safety incident reports, defect rates, delivery schedules, production costs, and morale indicators. During daily stand-up meetings or huddles, team members review the information on the boards, discuss progress, identify enhancement areas and develop action plans to address issues promptly. SQDCM boards facilitate data-driven decision-making and foster a continuous improvement culture by providing real-time visibility into performance metrics. These boards help teams align their efforts with organisational goals in Lean manufacturing environments.

What kind of information is typically displayed on an SQDCM Board?

A SQDCM board typically displays a range of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale. KPIs under each metric analyses different aspects of operational performance, aiding in decision-making and continuous improvement efforts across various organisational functions or operations.

  • Safety Metrics examples - Safety Incident Reports, Near-miss Occurrences, and Safety Training Completion Rates.
  • Quality Metrics examples - Defect rates, Customer Complaints, and Adherence to Quality Standards.
  • Delivery Metrics examples - On-time Delivery Rates, Lead Times, and Order Fulfilment Status.
  • Cost Metrics examples - Cost of Raw Materials, Production Costs, Energy Consumption Costs, and Recycling Costs.
  • Morale Metrics examples - Employee Satisfaction, Survey Results, and Turnover Rates.

How does a SQDCM Board work?

Implementing a digital SQDCM board in an organisation involves several steps to ensure their effectiveness and successful integration into daily production processes:

  • Select the right Visual Management Board: Research and select the best visual management solution that aligns with your organisational goals. Look for features such as customisable dashboards, real-time data updates, report generation and user-friendly interfaces.
  • Define the Metrics and KPIs: Have a proper idea of the arrangement of metrics and other visual elements on your visual management board. For a SQDCM board, the metrics are Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost and Morale. These metrics can be customised to form a SQDCP board, SQDCL board or SQDC board as per your industrial requirements.
  • Specify the KPIs tracked under each SQDCP metrics: Choose the Key Performance Indicators to be tracked under each metrics which relates to a specific strategic goal or improvement that your organisation needs to achieve.
  • Set the frequency for the SQDCM board: Conduct regular review meetings or huddles where teams analyse the data displayed on the SQDCM board. The frequency set for analysing your SQDCM board solely depends on the size and nature of your industrial operations.
  • Update and Monitor your SQDCM board: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of SQDCM boards in driving performance improvements and achieving organisational goals. Evaluate the relevance of SQDCM metrics, board template, and communication strategies to make adjustments as needed and ensure alignment with strategic objectives.
  • Integrate with relevant platforms: Integrate with the systems for collecting, updating, and reporting data for each KPI on the SQDCM board. SQDCM boards support automation and integration with production management systems, quality systems and maintenance management systems, saving time and preventing data redundancy.
  • Analyse the Root Causes of Unattained Goals: Discuss the root causes, identify improvement opportunities, and develop action plans to address challenges or gaps. The action plans along with respective graphs supporting the same are shown in the SQDCM board providing an overall visibility into your industrial operations.
  • Record the corrective actions: Plan for the corrective actions that must be taken, including a detailed description of the issue, its root cause analysis, and proposed solutions. Assign responsibilities to team members for each corrective action, ensuring accountability and timely execution. Specify the deadline for completing each corrective action, setting clear expectations for turnaround time and follow-up.
  • Use Dashboards and Generate Reports: Use the interactive dashboards to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), including Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale metrics. Use real-time data visualisation tools to display KPIs on the SQDCM board, providing clear insights into performance trends and areas for improvement. Ensure performance reports are easily accessible and understandable to all team members, promoting informed decision-making and accountability.
  • Adjust the Metrics and Continuously Improve: Analyse performance trends and identify areas where metrics may fail to reflect actual performance or drive desired behaviours. Encourage continuous improvement by fostering open communication, sharing best practices, and recognising achievements related to performance metrics. Empower employees at all levels to contribute ideas for enhancing performance and driving positive change.

How can you customise SQDCM Boards for different industries or processes?

The SQDCM board serves as a versatile solution across several industries, including manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy, electronics, aviation, marine vessels, banking, service sectors and beyond. To choose the right SQDCM template for your industry, follow these steps:

  • Assess Industry/ Process Requirements: Understand the specific needs, priorities, and challenges of the industries or processes where the SQDCM board will be implemented.
  • Select a Visual Management Board and Tailor Metrics to Industry or Process Needs: Customise the selection of metrics to align with the unique characteristics and requirements of the industry or process. When defining metrics, consider safety protocols, quality standards, production lead times, cost structures, and employee morale indicators.
  • Design Board Layout and Visual Elements: Design the layout of the SQDCM Board to accommodate industry-specific information and visual elements. Use colour-coded sections and graphs to convey information effectively and enhance visual clarity.
  • Incorporate Industry-Specific Best Practices: Research industry-specific best practices and performance improvement methodologies relevant to safety, quality, delivery, cost, and morale. Incorporate elements of lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM), or other relevant frameworks into the design of the SQDCM Board.
  • Customise Data Collection and Reporting Processes: Develop tailored data collection processes and systems to capture relevant performance metrics accurately and efficiently. Implement standardised reporting formats and intervals to ensure timely dissemination of performance data to stakeholders.

How do SQDCM Boards support continuous improvement initiatives?

SQDCM (Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, Morale) boards support continuous improvement initiatives by visually representing Key Performance Indicators, fostering accountability, and facilitating real-time monitoring of process efficiency. Through clear metrics and visual cues, SQDCM boards enable teams to identify improvement areas, track progress towards goals, and make timely corrections based on action plans. By promoting transparency and collaboration, SQDCM boards empower employees to contribute ideas, address issues proactively, and drive meaningful change. Moreover, the regular review of SQDCM board data encourages continuous learning and adaptation culture, leading to sustained improvements in safety, quality, delivery times, cost efficiency, and employee morale across all levels of the organisation.

Advantages of digital SQDCM Boards over physical SQDCM Boards

Physical SQDCM Boards

  • Physical visual management boards are mounted on walls or placed in designated areas

  • Manual data entry using markers, sticky notes, or other physical means

  • Limited customisation options, usually confined to physical layout and markers.

  • Limited analytical capabilities, primarily visual representations of data.

  • May lack integration capabilities with other digital systems and tools.

Digital SQDCM Boards

  • Digital SQDCM boards exist in virtual formats accessible from anywhere using any device.

  • Data entry is automated, with options for real-time updates and integration with other data management systems.

  • Highly customisable with options for selecting dynamic templates, KPIs,colour codings, and setting visual cues.

  • Offers advanced data analysis tools such as root cause analysis, trend graphs, and performance dashboards to create performance reports.

  • Can be integrated with digital platforms or third-party applications such as ERP, MES, MIS and IoT devices

How do SQDCM Boards contribute to Process Improvement?

SQDCM boards play a pivotal role in driving process improvement by visually representing Key Performance Indicators, fostering accountability, and enabling real-time monitoring of process efficiency. By establishing clear metrics for Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale, SQDCM boards drive process improvement. A SQDCM board benefits for process enhancement in many ways:

  • Identification of improvement areas
  • Tracking progress toward goals
  • Timely corrective actions
  • Regular review and analysis of data
  • Identification of trends and root causes of inefficiencies
  • Continuous improvement culture fostered
  • Enhanced operational performance
  • Improved cost efficiency
  • Increased employee engagement

Why should you track and measure each metric in a SQDCM Board?

In a SQDCM (Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, Morale) board, tracking and measuring each metric is crucial for several reasons. Each metric on the SQDCM board shows the organisation's performance in key areas essential for operational excellence and continuous improvement. By tracking and measuring these metrics, businesses can set targets, identify trends, and implement corrective actions to enhance overall efficiency, productivity, and employee satisfaction while ensuring alignment with strategic goals.

  • Safety
    • Incidence Rate: Measure the frequency of safety incidents within a defined period.
    • Near Misses: Track instances where accidents almost occurred, providing insight into potential hazards.
    • Compliance: Ensure adherence to safety regulations and protocols to prevent workplace injuries
  • Quality
    • Defect Rate: Monitor the number of defects in products or processes, indicating the quality level.
    • Customer Complaints: Track feedback from customers regarding product or service quality.
    • First Pass Yield: Measure the proportion of products meeting quality standards without rework.
  • Delivery
    • On-Time Delivery: Track the percentage of orders or projects delivered according to schedule.
    • Lead Time: Measure the time taken to fulfil an order from initiation to delivery.
    • Backlog: Monitor the accumulation of pending orders or tasks, which may impact delivery timelines.
  • Cost
    • Cost of Quality (COQ): Calculate the expenses of maintaining quality standards and addressing defects.
    • Cost per Unit: Measure the average cost incurred in producing each unit of product or service.
    • Variance Analysis: Compare actual costs against budgeted costs to identify deviations and areas for improvement.
  • Morale
    • Employee Satisfaction: Measure the level of contentment and engagement among employees.
    • Turnover Rate: Track the rate at which employees leave the organisation, reflecting morale and job satisfaction.
    • Training Hours: Measure the investment in employee development and skill enhancement initiatives.

Best practices for using SQDCM Boards

  • Encourage active participation from team members in updating and interpreting SQDCM data.
  • Establish clear and specific goals and targets for each aspect of SQDCM: Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale.
  • Continuously adapt and refine SQDCM metrics and processes based on feedback, changing priorities, and emerging best practices.
  • Provide training and support to team members on effectively using and interpreting SQDCM boards for decision-making and problem-solving.

SQDCM Example

SQDCM Visual Management Board

Let's consider an example of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tracked and measured under different metrics on a SQDCM board in a manufacturing plant for June 2023 to achieve operational excellence.
In this visual management board, you can see Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost and Morale as metrics that can be customised or changed based on your industrial requirements. The image displays the events that have occurred under Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale in June 2023. Here, S, Q and D metrics are measured based on shifts- A, B, C and D, whereas C and M metrics are not based on shifts.

  • Safety: In the Safety metric, accidents and near misses were selected as Key Performance Indicators to be tracked. 10 accidents and 21 near misses were tracked under the Safety metric in shift C. In shifts A and B, the actual goal of accidents was considered 10 or less, but the actual goal was not met under certain circumstances, and a high accident rate was observed. Here, the actual goal was not met and is indicated in Red. A reduced accident rate shows a safe working environment.
  • Quality: The quality metric tracked the scrap rate, and 99 observable situations showed inefficiency or scrap production in shift C. The actual goal of reduced scrap rate was not met, and a 47% deviation was observed in shifts A and B. Since the KPI is underperforming, it is indicated in Red.
  • Delivery: The delivery metric tracked produced output as the KPI, and 1197 products were successfully delivered during Shift C. Shifts A and B both met their KPI goals, achieving an impressive result of 99.9% and 75% respectively. So it is indicated in Green colour.
  • Cost: The cost metric isn't tracked based on shifts and shows an overall performance of the KPIs. Here, Total Sales and Order Arrears are the KPIs that are tracked and shown in this board. The board data clearly shows that Total Sales is underperforming and hasn't met the goal. It is indicated in Red that the KPI is not performing as expected. Order Arrears performed well during the first half of the month and shows 50% more than expected rate. So, it is marked as green as the KPI attained the goal.
  • Morale: Like the Cost metric, Morale also shows the overall performance of the KPIs as it isn't tracked based on shifts. Here Turnover Rate, Absenteeism Rate and Employee Net Promoter Score (NPS) are tracked as KPIs. All the KPIs under the Morale metric are indicated in green as they perform well and show a positive increase over actual goals. By tracking and analysing these morale metrics on the SQDCM board, organisations can proactively address issues impacting employee morale, fostering a supportive work environment for employees, and drive continuous improvement.