The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Shadow Boards


Shadow Board

Simplify Your Workplace with Custom Shadow Boards: The Ultimate Guide

What is a shadow board and how do they work?

Shadow Boards are an essential tool for any business that uses many different handheld tools or products in their operations. Tool shadow boards create a dedicated space for frequently used items to be stored when not in use. Shadow boards help busy environments track the usage of equipment, help to implement procedures and maintain efficient practices in manufacturing and production areas, increasing accountability and easily identifying items that may be missing.

Greencore shadow board

The benefits of using shadow boards in the workplace

Businesses operating in the manufacturing industry are often governed by strict regulations that ensure their output is compliant with safety standards. To achieve both a usable product and a safe production environment, preparation facilities rely on tried and tested procedures to help them operate on a daily basis. Effective workplace organisation is a key element of this and the use of tool shadow boards is invaluable to creating tidy and efficient spaces.

A shadow board creates a dedicated location for a tool, which when not in use can be housed in its prescribed location. If a tool is in its place, when it’s next required it is easily findable and assists in the productivity of the department. When the tool is missing, it’s highly noticeable and creates a demand for it to be located and returned, helping to keep users accountable and working towards a common goal of overall efficiency.

The use of shadow boards also creates an inherently safe environment for team members who could work in a potentially hazardous environment if order is not maintained. Using shadow boards as part of procedures helps reduce clutter, prevent accidents and reduce the waste of important and expensive resources.

What factors need to be considered when choosing a shadow board?

When making the decision to implement shadow boards it's important that you understand the needs of your business, and share that with your FASTSIGNS Signage Expert. Educating us on the equipment that will be housed on the tool board can help us to ensure that we create usable designs that assist your workplace practices in a positive way.

It may be that your tools are used in sequence and having the tool board designed to facilitate the order tools are used in, can help ensure each stage of your process is undertaken. Alternatively, you may use your shadow board to help facilitate the production of food items, to help ensure no cross-contamination of flavour or ingredients occurs. We can appropriately label your shadow board or use colour coordination to help create visual aids that assist your workforce in returning items to the appropriate locations, ready for their next use.

Depending on the location and environment that shadow boards are positioned will determine the type of materials used to create boards that really support business practices. Many of the shadow boards we create are made from durable 3mm or 10mm foam PVC. Depending on the thickness of the PVC we may recommend adding a supporting aluminium panel. Once we have agreed on the positioning of your tool spacing on the board with you, we print the design directly onto the board, creating a streamlined finish. To provide additional durability, we seal our design by adding a protective laminated layer on top of the print to help ensure the longevity of your tool shadow board design.

Implementing your shadow board in the workplace

Once printed, we’ll install your shadow board, in the agreed location, within the manufacturing / production facility. These boards could be wall mounted or situated on racking. Alternatively, if you require your shadow board to be mobile, we can develop the design to fit a fabricated metal frame and add castors to allow your shadow board the freedom of movement.

When onboarding new staff, Tool shadow boards provide a highly visible training tool. These boards showcase all of the most important tools used on a daily basis by your team. We recommend ensuring that you prioritise training your staff on the importance of returning tools to their board after use, helping to provide boundaries and rules that employees must respect to be an effective part of your team.

Monitoring and maintaining your tool board is an ongoing and daily task, Due to the lamination properties mentioned previously, our shadow boards are easy to keep clean and remain legible with basic cleaning practices. The very nature of the board will also help to monitor the use of tools. At the end of a day or when a shift changes over, if there is an unaccounted-for vacant space on a shadow board it’s a clear indication that the work has not been fully completed.

Example of a successful shadow board implementation

FASTSIGNS helped Arla Foods to implement the use of shadow boards in their production facility. The shadow boards provide a dedicated space for equipment which is used to produce food products. The boards are a key part of the production process, housing tools and machinery that is used to avoid any cross contamination of allergens.

Brian Conboy - Despatch Team Leader comments. “At Arla, the integrity of our product relies on the proficiency of our production department. The shadow boards, designed and produced provided by FASTSIGNS, help us to ensure that our equipment is maintained and accounted for which enables us to deliver a smooth operation.”


In conclusion, shadow boards are a visual representation of the tools used daily in any manufacturing-based business. They create a visible tool that can assist the production process, help to ensure efficiency and safety as well as providing accountability for users.

By introducing shadow tool boards into your facility and production process, you’re creating an easily manageable and effective system that can help your business to be even more productive. Discover effective workplace organisation with FASTSIGNS shadow boards today by getting in touch.