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5S Five Things Five Weeks – Week Two

February 8, 2010


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

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