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I can’t believe we are still going strong. When I originally thought up this crazy idea, I thought that five things a week wouldn’t be so hard to do. But now that we are in the middle of it, we have found that even for us it’s been a challenge. The good news is that we are still at it and have made many improvements. So let’s check in and see how we did last week and see what our new assignments are.

Review of Week 3

1. Hold a short 5S team meeting.

We had a short meeting on Friday that we were actually able to cover #3 below. The meeting didn’t take very much time and we actually had fun and laughed about our subject. During our meeting we discussed where we could use a new standard and then took the time to create it.

2. Check to see if you have all your “Shine” supplies. Does anything need to be ordered or replaced?

We looked at our shine cart and it was well stocked with the items that we need the most. We like having it as part of our 5S program because it is easy to move anywhere we need it. What we did discover though is that we could probably use some “Shine” supplies closer to Point-of-Use. We will determine what we need and where we need it at our next 5S team meeting.

3. Look for a new standard to create for the fourth “S” – Standardize.

Well, based on our meeting in #1 above we did create a new standard. We created a standard for our warehouse washroom. It’s not as bad as you think. It’s actually kept pretty clean and we rarely run out of consumables. We just thought it would be fun to see if we could come up with something useful. We took a picture of the standard we want to maintain and create a “Clean & Inspect Schedule.” Now we have set the rules for the area. I’ll keep you posted on how well we do maintaining it.

4. See if there are any opportunities to apply Reward & Recognition to your team or any outstanding individual with regards to your 5S program.

One of the areas that I think companies can have a weak spot in their 5S program is Reward & Recognition. I was just visiting a plant last week that had a program that focused on their quality. They were looking for ways to tie 5S into this program to make sure the employees understood the importance of their efforts. Don’t forget that R&R does not have to be money! We have some great R&R items that help inspire your employees.

5. Do a 15 minute titivate (to spruce up, to clean, to beautify) before you go home. Get your work area looking nice so you can kick-off next week ready to go.

Once again we worked on our Assembly Area. It turned out nice. It’s all cleaned up, organized and ready to go for this week. Like the quote by John Heywood “Many hands make light work.” Boy, does a clean neat work area do wonders for morale especially walking in on Monday morning!

So let’s move on to this week’s challenge.

Week 4

1. Sign up for the free Webinar “What is 5S?” an introduction to 5S this Wednesday, February 24. For bonus points, pass along the information to a friend, colleague, or another company that you think may be interested.

2. Take a “Before” photo of an area or a spot where you will be able to make an improvement in our Week #5 assignments.

3. Look in an office area and see if you can find something that needs a “home” and Set-in-Order.

4. See if can find one “Best Practice”, document it and share it with your team. It doesn’t have to be something big; something simple and easy if fine.

5. Check your 5S Red Tag stock. Do you have enough Red Tags for your area?

Once again, keep at it even when it’s not easy. We have come a long way over these last few weeks. Let’s keep it going!

Thanks for participating and let me know how you are doing on this challenge. – Tony

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Two weeks down, three to go. Let’s review Week 2’s items and see where we stand.

1. Check out your 5S Red Tag Holding Area to see if there is anything you can use in your work area. Follow your standards for removing items from the red tag area. Remember only to take something if you truly need it, otherwise you are defeating the purpose of the first “S” Sort. This also helps reduce costs and by recycling items you are helping make Lean Green.

I found some nice locking casters that will work perfectly to make our fan mobile when it gets warmer out. I put a note on them that we need to hold them for at least another month.

2. Make sure that you have red tags located conveniently in your work area. Have a dedicated home (2nd “S” Set-in-Order) for your 5S Red Tags. This location should be easy to get to for people in your work area. Think P-O-U-S (point of use storage).

We decided to put a 5S Red Tag Holder over by our Assembly Stations. We might recall from the last post, Assembly Station #1 had become a dumping ground. By locating the 5S Red Tag Holder by the Assembly area we hope to accomplish two things: 1) the 5S Red Tags are very convenient for people to grab, fill out and place on an unneeded item, and 2) by having the 5S Red Tag Holder there it visually elevates the importance of 5S Red Tagging; it shows the employees that we are serious about maintaining a productive and efficient 5S program.

3. Take the initiative and go to your supervisor or team leader and request that you hold a short 5S team meeting next week. Possible discussion topics could include:
• Go over the 5S article you found last week with the team and see what they think
• Review your recent 5S Audit scores
• Brainstorm ideas to improve your 5S program
• How can we sustain our gains?
• Share 5S best practices

We have a short team meeting scheduled for Friday. We will be discussing our 5S implementation plan and how we can continue the work we have already started.

4. Read one of those articles that you found last week. Make notes, come up with other ideas and see what you can apply at your organization. Maybe you can use it for your meeting.

I found the article 5S – Shadows Boards Are Bad and Reflection is Good from the Lean is Good blog. It helped us realize that when we decide to use a tool shadow board that it has to make things easier, most efficient and safe; not just look good.

5. Do a quick scan to see if any of your signs, lines or labeling needs to be updated, repaired or replaced. Make a list and give it to the appropriate person or if possible fix it yourself.

We found some floor tape that was not needed anymore. It was primarily a sample of how black & yellow striped vinyl floor tape gets your attention and shows a possible safety hazard. We removed it from the floor and cleaned the area.

So that’s the update for Week 2, let’s move on to Week 3.

Week 3

1. Hold a short 5S team meeting.

2. Check to see if you have all your “Shine” supplies. Does anything need to be ordered or replaced?

3. Look for a new standard to create for the fourth “S” – Standardize.

4. See if there are any opportunities to apply Reward & Recognition to your team or any outstanding individual with regards to your 5S program.

5. Do a 15 minute titivate (to spruce up, to clean, to beautify) before you go home. Get your work area looking nice so you can kick-off next week ready to go.

I hope you have been able to keep up. I know it’s been a challenge on our end. We just have to make time to do it, but the results have been great so far.

Let me know how you are doing or you can make a suggestion for the upcoming weeks 5S Five Things Five Week Challenge.

Best of luck,

Tony

Last week we started a “5S five things to do in five weeks program.” How did it go? How did you do? How would you rate yourself? Were you successful? Just to let you know that I try to practice what I preach, I am participating in this program too. Here are my results:

1. Let’s start off easy. Write down one thing that you would like to accomplish this week regarding 5S. Try to make it something that won’t take too much time, but will still have an impact on your 5S program.

I decided that I wanted to organize and clean up our Assembly Station #1. It had become a dumping ground for stuff. You couldn’t even see the top of the bench.

2. Search on the Internet (if you have access) for information related to 5S. Try to find articles, tips & tricks, or white papers that you think might help your 5S program. We’ll use these later in our program.

I found a post on the “Lean is Good” blog 5S – Shadows Boards Are Bad and Reflection is Good from December 11, 2009. What I liked about the post was that the author Bruce Baker even admitted to making tool shadow boards that might have looked good, but did they really increase productivity?

3. Wipe down your work area and do a quick inspection to see if anything needs fixing, may become broken (if not attended to) or is a safety issue. If you can fix it yourself, great; if not, notify the appropriate person or group.

I was amazed on how much dirt accumulated since the last cleaning. I found small parts that had fallen to floor; I was able to put them back in their correct location.

4. Declare a “Red Tag Day” – make the commitment to find at least five items that don’t belong in your immediate work area, red tag it and move to your 5S Red Tag Holding Area.

I found so many items on our Assembly Area #1 bench that I filled up a medium size box. There were even forms from April and September of last year on the bench. There were other items that I know we can use in the future, but I stuck with the “30-day Rule” – that if it isn’t needed in the next 30 days, red tag it.

5. If you haven’t already, work on that one thing that you wrote down in #1 above. If you have already completed that item, then take a break – you deserve it! Hey, I said we would start off easy. We’ll get to more challenging things later. 

So of course, I spent extra time getting the workbench clean, neat and organized. I even made labels for bins and found a home for each item. This took longer than the 15 minutes I stated earlier in the program, but I was glad I did it.

Now on to this week’s items.

Week 2

1. Check out your 5S Red Tag Holding Area to see if there is anything you can use in your work area. Follow your standards for removing items from the red tag area. Remember only to take something if you truly need it, otherwise you are defeating the purpose of the first “S” Sort. This also helps reduce costs and by recycling items you are helping make Lean Green.

2. Make sure that you have red tags located conveniently in your work area. Have a dedicated home (2nd “S” Set-in-Order) for your 5S Red Tags. This location should be easy to get to for people in your work area. Think P-O-U-S (point of use storage).

3. Take the initiative and go to your supervisor or team leader and request that you hold a short 5S team meeting next week. Possible discussion topics could include:
• Go over the 5S article you found last week with the team and see what they think
• Review your recent 5S Audit scores
• Brainstorm ideas to improve your 5S program
• How can we sustain our gains?
• Share 5S best practices

4. Read one of those articles that you found last week. Make notes, come up with other ideas and see what you can apply at your organization. Maybe you can use it for your meeting.

5. Do a quick scan to see if any of your signs, lines or labeling needs to be updated, repaired or replaced. Make a list and give it to the appropriate person or if possible fix it yourself.

Once again, let’s keep track and see how we do. If you have suggestions for upcoming weeks, feel free to share them.

Thanks for participating in the challenge. – Tony

Toyotathon of Death?

February 3, 2010

I’ve been thinking about the Toyota recall lately (I drive one, but it wasn’t affected by the floor mat or gas pedal recall). Of course, I do not know all the information or what happened behind the scenes at Toyota. But what I did notice was something that you probably have heard about how Toyota operates and now you can see it in practice. I heard the phrase “Think slow and act fast” referring to how Toyota addresses situations.

Just think what they were up against. You make the decision to recall all of the cars affected (over 2 million). Now you have to have a plan to fix these cars. And yes, we need the parts to do this. We have to contact the owners. We have to prepare the dealers for the influx of repairs. In the meantime, we will shutdown production. And stop selling those models ofor now. How will this affect our dealers? Our employees? Our customers? Our market share? And on and on and on… Yes there seems to be a lot to think about. And now they have to act.

Time will tell how this will affect Toyota overall. I personally think that they will come out of this stronger than before. They will most likely loose some market share in the meantime. This reminds me of the 1982 Tylenol recall when the decision was made to remove the entire product from the shelves. This was costly, but it was the right thing to do and made the company stronger in the long run. “Tylenol made a hero of Johnson & Johnson.”

Some people will try to use this as an excuse to not pursue Lean. They’re missing the point. This mistake (and it’s a big one) does not mean to scrap your Lean initiatives. It’s a reminder that quality is an essential part of Lean.

For fun, you can watch a clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on the Toyotathon of Death To watch on hulu.com (starts at 1:25) go to:  

To watch video>>The Daily Show  with Jon Stewart –  Toyotathon of Death

You have probably heard the phrase it takes 21 days to break an old habit and 21 days to create a new one. In that spirit, I will be running a series of blog posts over the next five weeks that suggest five things you can do each week to help improve your 5S thinking and actions. These will be little things that you can easily do each week to improve your 5S efforts. Think of this as “Little up, everyday” or practicing kaizen (Japanese for continuous improvement). All told, this should probably take only 5-15 minutes a day. So for only less than an hour a week you can get directly involved in 5S in your work area.

Week 1

  1. Let’s start off easy. Write down one thing that you would like to accomplish this week regarding 5S. Try to make it something that won’t take too much time, but will still have an impact on your 5S program.
  2. Do a search for information related to 5S. Try to find articles, tips & tricks, or whitepapers that you think might help your 5S program. We’ll use these later in our program.
  3. Wipe down your work area and do a quick inspection to see if anything needs fixing, may become broken (if not attended to) or is a safety issue. If you can fix it yourself, great; if not, notify the appropriate person or group.
  4. Declare a “Red Tag Day” – make the commitment to find at least five items that don’t belong in your immediate work area, red tag them and move to your 5S Red Tag Holding Area.
  5. If you haven’t already, work on that one thing that you wrote down in #1 above. If you have already completed that item, then take a break – you deserve it! Hey, I said we would start off easy. We’ll get to more challenging things later.

I understand that you might not be able to accomplish all these things the first time you try it. Do what you can. If you follow this or something like it, you are starting to apply standardize and sustain to your 5S program.

Let’s keep track of our progress and we’ll see how we do week-to-week.

Good luck and thanks – Tony

You can sign up on twitter at twitter.com/5Ssupply and I’ll send you short reminders each week to help you stay on track.