Three Cheers for 2010

December 31, 2010

I would like to give three cheers to 5S Supply as we close-out Year 2010!

Cheer #1 – Expanding our website way beyond just 5S

Throughout the year we continually added new products and services, but I am especially proud that in August we introduced hundreds of products related to Lean. In our original hoshin plan for 5S Supply we purposely started out with items specific to 5S. We wanted to prove the idea that a web-based business focused on having items for people performing kaizen events was feasible. Even four years ago we had in our hoshin plan to expand beyond 5S into all aspects of Lean. Now we offer the largest selections of items for Lean practitioners.

Cheer #2 – Great New Products

One of the main things that sets 5S Supply apart from our competition is our creation of unique and innovative items based on our real-world experience in leading kaizen events for clients. Two items that were top sellers in 2010 were our Tool Tracer Vinyl and 5S Sticky Tags. Our Tool Tracer Vinyl is an economical way to visually create shadows for items for easy identification, retrieval and recoil. We purposely gave our customers the option of multiple colors and in two styles – sheets or rolls.

The 5S Sticky Tag was invented by our very own Customer Care Manager, Jennifer Molski, when she participated in a 5S Event in an office setting. She noticed that when the participants were 5S Red Tagging they would just tape the tags to the items. She wondered why we couldn’t just have a post-it style tag and voila, the 5S Sticky Tag was born.

Cheer #3 – Free Stuff

One of our top downloads for 2010 was our version of the 5S Numbers Game. This is a great way to train anyone in the basic concepts of 5S. We created a PowerPoint presentation along with all the forms needed to share this training with your employees.

Another top winner in the Free category were our 5S Supply Lean Webinars. We decided to offer a free webinar during our fourth anniversary month of August and it was a big success. Since then, we continue to offer free webinars. Our 2011 series will be starting soon. Check back for more details.

So three cheers to 5S Supply, our partners and our customers! Without you we couldn’t be helping the world be a better place through Lean implementations. So here’s to 2011! All the best in the New Year. – Tony

11 Things for Lean in 2011

December 27, 2010

To wind-down 2010 I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of eleven things to do in 2011 related to lean. Maybe there is something on the list that will spark your imagination. These are in no particular order.

1. Go to a conference

There are many good conferences related to lean out there. If you have been any one of these before I highly recommend it. You’ll get a great opportunity to learn, network and make friends with other like-minded lean professionals.

2. Attend a webinar

Attending a webinar is an alternative to travel to a conference and a quick way to learn more about a subject. There are many great sources for webinars available and this is great way to train your team.5S Supply will continue with its highly popular and FREE webinar series in 2011. Check back each month to see what the new subject is.

3. Attend a class on Lean

Sit in a one of the many Lean courses that are offered throughout the year and come away with some new knowledge. I know that one of the best ways to learn is hands-on, but an alternative is to learn and then apply. You can either pick a new subject on lean that you want to learn more about or do a ‘deep-dive’ session to become an expert in a specific area of lean. I thoroughly enjoy when I get to teach our two-day Lean Enterprise course and one-day Lean Kaizen course for ASQ. Come check it out if you get a chance.

4. Watch a video

Check out a video on lean. This is another fantastic way to share information about lean with people at work. I am currently working with SME to update their Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) video and it will be out in 2011. This will be a case study of one of my clients and how they performed a TPM Kaizen Event around several pieces of production equipment. I’ll keep you posted when it becomes available. At 5S Supply, we will be adding more videos to our website and YouTube channel throughout the year focused on lean subjects and our “One-Minute, One-Point Lesson” video series. Stay tuned for more.

5. Read a book

In a world were the average person doesn’t even complete one book in a year, you can stand out by reading a book (or two or three) on any lean subject. The number of books on lean has exploded over the last five years; practically any concept in lean has a book now. Another major project I’ll be working on (along with many others) in 2011 will be a Lean Handbook based off of the Body of Knowledge for the Lean Certification (see #6 below). This is a great project that I am honored to be part of. For the largest selection of lean book please visit 5S Supply

6. Get Lean Certified

AME, SME, Shingo Prize and ASQ have all teamed up to provide you with the premier Lean Certification. I was lucky enough to be one of the original team members that worked on creating this certification five years ago and currently I am an ASQ representative to the Certification Oversight and Appeals Committee. Becoming certified shows your commitment to lean and that you have a basic understanding of the BOK.

7. Find another company that you can benchmark with

This one actually started because one of my lean practitioner friends in Chicago asked me to help link him up with other companies that are doing 5S. He wanted to show his 5S Champions what other companies are doing and have an opportunity to benchmark & network. Check to see if there is a Lean Consortium in your area or even start one yourself. There are several resources that will help you including local sections/chapters of ASQ or SME, AME regions, LEI’s Forums or possibly LinkedIn.

8. Write a Lean article for your company or organization’s newsletter

Consider writing a short article for your companies newsletter or intranet. You can write about a recent kaizen event, share a “One Good Idea”, explain a lean concept or just pick something of interest to you. If you want to start a newsletter at your organization we offer free word templates to get you started.

9. Make a video about one of your kaizen events and post it on YouTube

If you don’t feel like writing maybe you can make a short video (with your company’s permission of course) and post it on YouTube. Once again, you can show clips for a recent kaizen event, show some before & after lean ideas, or even have some fun and make a parody video. We’re always looking for good content for our video channel, so if you have something worthwhile please feel free to contact me. 5S Supply will be adding more videos this year including “How to’s”, new product demonstrations and interviews with lean experts.

10.  Coach or mentor

Find someone in your organization that you could coach or mentor in lean. There is no greater way to learn lean than have to teach someone else. This can be a very rewarding experience for both you and you apprentice. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; just agree to meet periodically and talk lean.

11.  Relax

Well, this is a no-brainer. Even if you did a couple of the things on this list you should be proud of yourself. Take some time for yourself and relax, maybe even do a little honest reflection or to create deeper understanding of lean.


I think that’s enough to get us started for 2011. On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone that has read my blog, forwarded it, bookmarked it, shared it with a friend and even commented on it. I don’t know if I really knew what it would take to do one of these, but it has been a rewarding experience for me over the last year. If you have a subject you’d like to see or ideas you’d like to share, please let me know. I am refocusing my efforts to provide you with relevant content over the next year.

So here’s to 2011, let’s make it our best lean year yet! Have a Happy and Safe New Year.

Thanks – Tony

The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.

Streamlining was appropriate in view of the reality that the North Pole no longer dominates the season’s gift distribution business. Home shopping channels and mail order catalogs have diminished Santa’s market share and he could not sit idly by and permit further erosion of the profit picture. The reindeer downsizing was made possible through the purchase of a late model Japanese sled for the CEO’s annual trip. Improved productivity from Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is anticipated and should take up the slack with no discernible loss of service. Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the North Pole has been cited and received unfavorable press.

I am pleased to inform you and yours that Rudolph’s role will not be disturbed.  Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole. Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph’s nose got that way not from the cold, but from substance abuse. Calling Rudolph “a lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load” was an unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa’s helpers and taken out of context at a time of year when he is known to be under executive stress.

As a further restructuring, today’s global challenges require the North Pole to continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the “Twelve Days of Chris tmas” subsidiary: The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance.

The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective.  In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated.

The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French.

The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked.

The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks appear to be in order.

The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day is an example of the decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that from now on every goose it gets will be a good one.

The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes and therefore enhance their outplacement.

As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the work force is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching.

Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps.

The Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords plus the expense of international air travel prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen this year.

Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop right down to the bottom line.

We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and other expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorneys association seeking expansion to include the legal profession (“thirteen lawyers-a-suing”) action is pending. Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to stay competitive. Should that happen, The Board will request management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.

Happy Holidays!

Blog note: I don’t know who the original author was (not me), but if you find out let me know. My sister sent this to me and I thought I would share it with all of you.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays to All – Tony