We have added a new feature to our homepage – polling questions (www.5Ssupply.com). We will use these short and quick polls to gauge responses to all sorts of lean related questions.Look on the lower right-hand side of the page under the New Items! button.The first polling question is in regards to Total Productive Maintenance – Please rate the effectiveness of your TPM system, cast your vote and check back to see how others feel.

If you have an idea or suggestion for a polling question feel free to send it to me at tmanos@5Ssupply.com. Let’s share information and best practices in the lean community!

Thanks – Tony

P.S. We also added a link under the lower left footer section “Need Help With Lean?” for Lean Certification. 5S Supply supports SME, AME, Shingo Prize and ASQ in their efforts to administer the best lean certification available.

Keep tools close at hand, at point-of-use and never waste time searching for items again with the Mobile Tool Works!

Our versatile Mobile Tool Works makes it easy to find, use and put away tools when and where needed. This accessible unit goes where you go and will enhance maintenance, production, 5S, operations and aid in overall standardization. Unlike toolboxes or chests, you will always be able to visually locate what you need quickly and have full access to it at all times. This fully visible cart promotes proper tool accountability and usage among shifts. Efficiently store, manage and organize equipment and small parts without clutter. Plenty of secure, flexible and convenient options for storing your tools and gear including the front, sides and even the back if you need to. Casters allow cart for maneuverability over most surfaces. Made of 14 gauge steel, this can stand up to most any environment and is finished with a red color powder coat.

Dimensions: 41 5/4″ W x 31″ D x 67 1/2″ H

Includes: 16” D open shelf

Price: $649

Some assembly required

Phone Orders ONLY – Please call us toll-free at 888 4 LEAN 5S (888-453-2657) to place your order. Freight shipping only

5S Supply is pleased to announce that we now carry Triton’s Stainless Steel Tool Boards. These tool boards are perfect for cleanrooms, hospitals, marine applications, restaurants or food service. Made of 304 Stainless Steel and sturdy box construction, these boards will hold up against the harshest of environments. Add in the assortment of hooks and accessories and you’re all set.

Each set comes with two 36” x 18” boards and mounting hardware. We have 12 different styles of hooks and accessories so you can customize your workspace and have your important tools at point-of-use.

Hooks and Accessories

  • Stainless Steel Shelf 18″ L x 6 1/2″ W
  • 1″ Stainless Steel Single Rod 300 Bend 3-Pack
  • 3″ Stainless Steel Single Rod 300 Bend 3-Pack
  • 6″ Stainless Steel Single Rod 900 Bend 3-Pack
  • 4″ Stainless Steel Double Rod with 900 Bend 3-Pack
  • Stainless Steel Extended Spring Clip 3/4″-1-1/4″ 3-Pack
  • Stainless Steel Extended Spring Clip 1″-2-1/4″ 3-Pack
  • Stainless Steel Extended Spring Clip 1/2″ to 3/4″ 3-Pack
  • Stainless Steel Curved Hook 2-1/4″ I.D. 3-Pack
  • Stainless Steel Multi-Prong Tool Holder 8-1/2″L QTY 1
  • Stainless Steel Multi-Ring Tool Holder 8-1/2″ L QTY 1
  • Stainless Steel LocBoard BinClip3/8″ to Mount Bins QTY 1

Need help configuring your stainless steel or work area solution? Give us a call 888 4 LEAN 5S or email info@5Ssupply.com.

A True Bottleneck

June 20, 2011

bot·tle·neck [bot-l-nek] –noun

–  A place or stage in a process at which progress is impeded. (1)

I had the pleasure of experiencing a true bottleneck operation a couple of weeks ago. My friend Dave makes his own wine and each year I lend a hand to bottle the results along with a few volunteers (his Dad and wife). I’ve helped Dave do this a few times over the last couple of years. This year, knowing my background in lean, he asked if I would help streamline his operation so we could have better flow (pun intended).

Now, bottling this wine is more a labor of love than trying to reduce waste or understand value from the customer’s point-of-view. But I can understand that when we have a few hundred bottles to do (I’m exaggerating a little – it just felt like that many) that Dave wouldn’t want to have to spend all day doing it.

So what’s the first thing to do? Go to gemba or in this case Dave’s basement and kitchen. Dave had the usual setup like the previous year’s but with a few new twists – pun not intended (see the Current State Value Stream Map). The process steps were:

  1. Rinsing the bottles (batch operation)
  2. Filling the bottles (gravity feed, two people, and as part of the changeover we had to mix varietals)
  3. Adjusting the fill height (because of the filling method – the amount below the cork is critical to quality)
  4. Corking
  5. Sealing (putting the fancy seal over the cork – no real function, just decoration)
  6. Labeling (so we know what year and grapes)


As you can see from the Value Stream Map there is a lot of waste, but without going to gemba, you might not recognize it just from the VSM. You see that for the most part it is a push system, each operation pushing bottles ahead to the next operation whether they are ready for them or not. You may also notice that there is plenty of transportation waste; moving the bottles upstairs to the kitchen for sealing and labeling (and ultimately back downstairs). You may say that adjusting the fill level in the bottle is also waste; I would agree. It’s just that we haven’t fixed the filling operation yet to give us the perfect poor (the bottles come in various sizes and shapes). So after all this analysis you may feel the need to roll-up your sleeves to make this a more streamlined operation with flow (pun intended – again). But, I can save you the trouble. The true bottleneck was at Dave’s process “Adjusting”. He was always talking, wanting to take pictures, commenting on the wine and generally not paying attention to his work. So the bottleneck in this operation was Dave (sorry Dave). Since Dave is the “Herbie” (from Eli Goldratt’s book “The Goal”) we should probably put him up front next year maybe with his Dad to keep him on track! So in reality, I wouldn’t change a thing. We have fun doing this and since we are the ultimate customer, we just enjoy our day.

O.k., I may want to make some improvements next year; hey, it’s my nature.


(1) The definition of a bottleneck from dictionary.com

We continue to add new and unique products to make your lean journey better. Check out our newest Navy Blue 5S T-shirt. Reward and recognition items like these t-shirts can serve as an important part of 5S “Sustain”. Thank your team members for all of their hard work and on-going dedication to
your system.

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