Everything You Need To Know About Shadow Boards

Picture a workplace with equipment scattered everywhere. Mops and brushes carelessly left in corners of cupboards and washrooms. Toolboxes and drawers jumbled with hard-to-find engineering tools.

Does this signify efficiency, cleanliness, and professionalism to you?

According to a leading audit body, 60% of non-conformance issues relate to poor housekeeping of small manufacturing and production utensils.

Whether it be in the food production industry, pharmaceutical industry, or retail and hospitality industry, organisational planning is fundamental to a professional, fully functioning workplace.

Few deny this. However, there remains some dispute over how best to facilitate such planning. After all, tracking dozens if not hundreds of tools is no mean feat – let alone keeping them ordered, visible, and easily accessible.

This is where shadow boards come in. Used by the likes of Two Sisters, Arla, Cranswick, Morrisons, Bakkavor, Hovis, Dominoes, Kerry, and Coca Cola, shadow boards provide a dedicated home for cleaning equipment, small utensils, and mobile tools. In the last decade, they’ve become an indisputably popular solution.

But how exactly do they work?

This article unpacks everything important there is to know about shadow boards. Written by our expert team at Klipspringer, it draws on a decade’s worth of knowledge as the industry leaders in shadow boards since popularising them in 2011. It details the main types of shadow board, outlining each type’s function, and offering actionable next steps for those seeking to learn more.

And yes, as you’re probably already thinking – we do sell shadow boards. We are biased towards our own range (wouldn’t you be worried if we weren’t?). But the purpose of this article isn’t to sell our shadow boards. It was written to inform the reader in deciding if shadow boards are applicable for their business, and, if so, what type of board suits them best.

So, what are shadow boards?

Put simply, shadow boards are storage solutions which support hygiene standards, health and safety, and efficiency. There are three principal formats:

1) Tool Boards

Tool shadow boards house a set of related tools and supplies. Each tool has a designated area (a ‘shadow’) and is securely fixed by either a fixing or mounting, as seen below.

Rather than equipment strewn haphazardly across work surfaces, every item is safely stored and accounted for. While tool boards are often made for standard equipment (such as hammers, spanners, and screwdrivers), they should also be able to accommodate more bespoke tools, from machine equipment to spare parts.

2) Cleaning Stations

Based on the same design principles, cleaning stations group hygiene-related apparatus for easy access. Whether by department, production line, or industry-specific segregation (e.g. allergens), colour-coded cleaning stations prevent any non-compliant overlap in equipment use.

For example, tools for cleaning the production area of an allergen (e.g. nuts) should never be re-used on another production line, due to risking cross-contamination and audit failure. Clear visual communication prevents this from ever occurring.

3) Visual Management

By making crucial information visual and digestible, shadow boards bolster understanding – a must in compliance contexts. Invaluably, employee procedures, site maps, or team objectives can be communicated at a glance, saving time, preventing confusion, and minimising costly error.

Visual management shadow boards are applicable across a range of scenarios, including:

  • KPI Monitoring and Tracking
  • Safety & Site Signage
  • Quality Standards
  • Instrumentation Standards
  • Short Interval Control
  • Root Cause & Benefit Analysis
  • Shift Changeover Boards
  • Dress Procedures
  • Near Miss & Accident Tracking
Visual management shadow board for Heineken

Why use Shadow Boards?

“Shadow boards are an unnecessary luxury”. Chances are you’ve heard this complaint from some managers and budget holders before. Admittedly, it may be true – depending on company values. Shadow boards are useless … for companies that don’t prioritise hygiene, health and safety, or efficiency.

For innovative, compliance-oriented organisations, shadow boards are a budgeted staple. Drawing on the 5S Principles, shadow boards are proven to:

  • Minimise costly errors and non-compliances
  • Increase equipment longevity (and therefore production)
  • Reduce replacement costs and tool-searching time
  • Improve audit scores
  • Cultivate an ordered workplace environment
  • Overcome written and verbal communication barriers

Where to get started with Shadow Boards

That said, not all shadow boards are created equal. These numerous benefits depend on the quality of craftsmanship, level of customisation, and efficacy of visual communication. Another key consideration is the cost of shadow boards, which varies depending on which type of board is required, and its various features.

At Klipspringer, we pride ourselves on all of the above. Since 2011, we’ve been the industry leader in bespoke, visually compelling shadow boards, using our state-of-the-art design, print, and production facilities to satisfy the likes of Tesco Maintenance and Bradleys Metal Finishers. Our boards are characterised by unrivalled production quality, design processes, and production turnaround times, allowing us to form partnerships that enhance standards on a daily basis.

Already know which type of shadow board you require? Fill out our Shadow Board Enquiry Form so our team can contact you to progress your project as quickly as possible.

Want more information? Click here to read about the exact features of our customised shadow boards.