I’ve driven past the building pictured below well over a dozen times. It appears commercial in nature, but with the lack of descriptive visual controls, I had no idea, until now, what it is.

Commercial signage typically provides folks with more insight into the name and type of business. The lack of ABC information was driving me a bit crazy…which of course made me think about the self-explaining attribute of effective visual controls.

Among other things, gemba-based observers should be able to understand, unassisted, what a given object, process or system is. If relevant, a visual control should also share the subject’s purpose, and related operating rules, including a definition of the normal condition (and often, what to do in response to an abnormal condition).

…Back to ABC. Turns out it’s a liquor store (a.k.a. “package store”). Seems that in North Carolina, the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission controls the sale of alcoholic beverages in the state. There’s a bunch of ABC stores throughout the state.

It certainly was not self-explaining.

How many mysterious ABC’s do you have in your plant, office, lab or hospital?

Related post: Visual of the Visual?