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Lean practitioners know that an integral part of the Toyota Production System is “Respect for People”. Recently, while working with two kaizen teams at a company relatively new to lean that were learning and applying standardized work in a manufacturing and office area, I asked the team members for their ideas on how we could “show respect” to the value-adders (the people who actually do the work) when we were in gemba (the place where the work is being done). The team members included people from production, office, QC, warehouse, team leads, and engineering. I wanted to make sure they had a good feel for the concept of showing respect for other workers.

Before doing our observations I asked the team to do a little brainstorming; here are some ideas of what they came up with:

  • Introduce yourself and the team
  • Explain what you are doing (training on standardized work, observations, etc.)
  • Put the person at ease
  • Let them know you’ll ask them questions about the process so we can learn
  • Don’t “pepper” them with questions
  • Be polite
  • Follow the “Golden Rule”
  • Compliment them if you observe something good
  • Observe their mood, body language and responses
  • Stay out of their way while they are working
  • Put yourself in their shoes, how would you feel if people came out with stopwatches and clipboards
  • Don’t ambush them

What do you think? How did they do? As part of hansei (reflection), how do you show respect when going to gemba?

Please, share your thoughts. – Tony

I had a great time at this year’s WCQ&I in Pittsburgh (although it seemed to rain the whole time – that didn’t really matter since I was inside). Here is my recap of ASQ’s leading conference.

Arriving on Sunday, I was able to take part of the Lean Enterprise Division’s annual board meeting. It was nice to see that it was well attended and productive. Many projects from the year were updated and there was an excellent discussion on how ASQ headquarters and the LED can work together to promote the premier Lean Certification that is hosted by ASQ, SME, AME and the Shingo Prize.

Monday morning’s keynote speaker Admiral (ret.) Thad Allen was an engaging speaker. I liked that he didn’t have any PowerPoint presentation and just spoke form the heart. In my mind he was in charge three of the toughest assignments anyone could have had: relief after hurricane Katrina, earthquake relief in Haiti, and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He talked about his experiences during these times. For more information on this and other happenings during the conference you can check out my tweets at www.twitter.com/5Ssupply or search using hash tag #WCQI11.

Monday afternoon I did a deep-dive presentation on using Hoshin Kanri’s X-matrix. This was an expansion of my article “Hoshin Promotion” in ASQ’s Six Sigma Forum Magazine last August. I wanted to show people how to work with one of the tools during Hoshin planning and how to take it to the next level.

I enjoyed my time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I attended some great sessions on Lean related topics. One of my favorite parts was being at LED’s booth on the conference floor. It was wonderful to see all the people stop by, talking shop and passing out Lean Certification packets.

Another keynote that I attended was Barbara Corcoran (from the television show Shark Tank) who talked about lessons she learned throughout her life. She turned a $1,000 investment into a multi-million dollar real estate business. Her combination of humor and heart-felt stores engaged the audience. Check out her new book “Shark Tales”.

Once again if you want more information about the conference you can check out my tweets at www.twitter.com/5Ssupply or search Twitter using hash tag #WCQI11. I also put up some pictures on our flickr account http://www.flickr.com/photos/5ssupply.

I can’t wait to attend next year at Anaheim. Hope to see you there! – Tony

"Old" location

I had a lot of fun working with a great team performing a 5S in a manufacturing area last week. This was the company’s first official 5S event so we treated it as a “learn-do” occasion. We did all the usual things associated with 5S – red tagging, setting items in order, cleaning & inspection, creating standards, etc. But, my favorite part was the team working on tool shadow boards (as part of “Set-in-order”).

Some of the team members that have been part of companies that have applied 5S before came up to me to let me know that their tool shadow boards don’t work. In fact, they even went as far as to say that they have never seen tool shadow boards work effectively.

Of course, I had to ask why tools shadow boards don’t work and the reply was “Because people don’t put the tools back!” I wanted to use the 5 Whys technique (asking why five times) to help to get to the root cause of the situation. Because of the amount of resistance I felt was underlying the situation I decided to take another approach. As a good lean student should I performed genchi genbutsu (actual place, actual thing or go see and get facts).

Here is what I first discovered – yes, indeed the tools where not put back on the tool shadow board. Many of the tools were missing. Next, I saw that the tool shadow board was located on the side operator’s desk. At first this may seem to be a good location for the operator, but it also had a garbage can directly in front of it. The tools had lines traced around the outside but were not labeled as to what goes where. As you can see from this picture that 5S has not been applied to this area.

Sorting Tools

As part of “Sort” we went through and Red Tagged items that weren’t needed in the immediate work area. We found many tools in different locations. A couple of team members went through all the tools that were gathered up to see what they needed and did not need, and what was missing. The amazing thing was that the team found over 50 tools lying around the production area, yet they still didn’t have everything they needed!

A couple of the operators got together to decide which tools they actually needed. At this point I asked questions of why their tool shadow board wasn’t working before in the past. To my

"New" location at point-of-use

surprise they decided to create a new tool shadow board, but this time it was smaller, had only the exact tools they needed, they mounted at point-of-use, they used Tool Tracer Vinyl to outline the tools and labeled each of the tools.

Two of the operators that told me that tool shadow boards never worked before told me that this time they think they have a chance. I asked why and the two reasons they gave me were 1) that locating it at point-of-use would make it much easier for the operator to put it back and 2) now they have a standard that all operators can follow.

One more observation of improvement – the team mounted the board inside a clear Plexiglas covering on one of the machines. This seemed to be a great point-of-use location. When they came in the next morning, they noticed the board was taken down. They asked the operator running the line that day why he took it down; he said he couldn’t see the machine running when he was standing by the computer. Instead of the team getting frustrated that he didn;t like the board where it was originally located, they brainstormed other locations where it wouldn’t be in the way and conferred with the operator to make sure the new location was o.k. Now that’s continuous improvement.

So here are ten quick questions you can use as a checklist of things to think about when making a tool shadow board:

1. Does it have the right tools on it?

2. Are there extra tools on the board that are not needed or used (remove these)?

3. Is the board conveniently located so that people can easily get the tool they want and put it back when they are done?

4. Do all the tools have shadows around them?

5. Are all tools labeled?

6. Did you consider using color-coding to identify tools?

7. Did you create a Standard for the tool shadow board?

8. Did you use immediate correction if a tool is not put back when it is supposed to?

9. Do you use daily audits to make sure all tools are put back?

10. Are all people in the area trained on the proper use of the toolshadow board?

As the “Check” part of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) I’ll follow up in a couple of weeks to see if the tools are still there.

At 5S Supply we pride ourselves on creating or finding unique and innovative products to help Lean practitioners and we lowered the price on one of our most popular items – floor tape!

ThedaCare DVD
Lean Thinking at ThedaCare: Strategy Deployment

This DVD takes viewers deep inside ThedaCare and Appleton Medical Center to see how the strategy deployment (a.k.a. Hoshin Kanri) management system creates alignment throughout the organization. You will see how “true north” goals are cascaded through the organization in a collaborative way and how front-line improvement efforts and results are selected and communicated across all levels of leadership. This DVD includes special value-added features with access to downloads, Q&A and streaming videos.

$199
44 minutes

Video Clip Samples:
Full first intro chapter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAMX9xfn4vM
Short clips from each of the chapters:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSRWbQSJ2A4

Magwear Magnetic Wristband
Ultimate Point-of-Use-Storage

Magwear Magnetic Wristbands are perfect for any work environment including the shop floor, assembly lines, construction sites, auto-body shops and even the office. The uses for this product are endless – hold your bolts, hooks, bits, pins, washers, paperclips, staples, tacks, nails, eyehooks, ball bearings, binder clips, needles, beads, screws, blades and even small tools. Made of a super strong magnet to securely hold your hardware and keep it within easy reach.

Tru-Tray
Another Great Option for Custom Tool Organization!

Using the Tru-Tray System you can organize tools and equipment in a way that is most efficient and effective for you. For work in the field or in the shop, tool organization, protection and accountability has never been easier. You can customize your tool holding by making impressions of your tools into the foam and then applying the Molding Solution. Four sizes to choose from.

New Floor Tape Sizes and New Lower Prices!
More sizes, lower prices

We added more sizes to one of our Best Sellers – Vinyl Floor Tape and reduced the price too! Our vinyl floor tape now comes in sizes from ¼” to 4”. We reduced the price on all rolls and switched to single roll packs (instead of our previous 2-paks). Promote organization (5S “Set-in-Order”), visual workplace, traffic control and safety by identifying areas with this vinyl floor marking tape.

Benchmarking Survey
Share, Learn, Grow

5S Supply is hosting the largest, most comprehensive 5S Benchmarking Survey ever! Evaluate the effectiveness of 5S at your organization compared to others, learn best practices and determine improvement strategies for your future Lean success.

The survey has 40 questions and will take about 20-30 minutes to complete. For your efforts can opt-in to get a free customized report of the findings and we also have a special “Thanks” if you complete the survey.

New Look Homepage

You may have noticed that we have made some changes to our homepage www.5Ssupply.com.  We continually strive to make it easier to find the items you are looking for. We added categories for “New Items!” and “On Sale“. We hope this makes your shopping experience easier and more Lean! Check back often for the newest updates.

Thanks – Tony

Learn more

One of the things I really like about the Lean Community is their willingness to share information and best practices. So with that in mind, I am pleased to announce that the much anticipated 5S Benchmarking Survey is now live and ready to take.

We have worked diligently to put together what we believe is the largest, most comprehensive benchmarking survey regarding 5S ever attempted. By participating in this benchmarking study, you will help set the standard, be able to gauge your progress alongside other 5S implementers, identify areas for improvement, share, and learn 5S successes.

Our goal is to advance the knowledge of 5S, to build and strengthen the Lean Community, and to share proven best practices.

We would like to invite every Lean and 5S practitioner to participate. For your efforts, you can receive an exclusive 5S Benchmarking Report that is customized for you and as a way to say “Thanks” we have a little token of appreciation after the survey is completed.

The survey has 40 questions and will take approximately 20-30 minutes to finish. There are eight sections, including:

  • Company information (7 questions)
  • 5S at Your Organization (1 question)
    • Overall 5S Rank (3 questions)
    • Training (8 questions)
  • Implementation (8 questions)
  • Management Support (2 questions)
  • Cultural Enablers (2 questions)
  • Continuous Process Improvement (3 questions)
  • Enterprise Alignment (1 question)
  • Results (5 questions)

We want to protect your privacy; your personal information with be safeguarded and the information you provide will be aggregated into the final report. We appreciate your input and hope you’ll help spread the word around the Lean Community. The more people that participate, the more comprehensive and robust the results will be. To share please use the following link: 5S Benchmarking Survey.

I would like to hear your feedback and say “Thank You” in advance for your participation. – Tony