Whether it’s part of your New Year’s resolution or just a good idea — being organized saves time, money and reduces stress. These bins come in nine different sizes, four colors and have options including: long and short dividers, clear lids, label holders and wheeled dollies. Get and stay organized with Akro-Grids. Akro-Grid Containers allow you to customize your storage solution.

One of the key elements of 5S or being organized is to “Set-in-Order” which means “A place for everything and everything in its place.” By using AkroGrid color-coded bins with clear lids and label holders you, or any member of your team can quickly find what is needed — no time wasted searching for things. You can also customize these containers to fit your specific needs with the optional dividers. The long and short dividers allow you to subdivide the container down to a 1-1/8″ square compartment size so you can create hundreds of different sizes. The bins are injection molded from industrial-grade polymers, which resist most solvents and chemicals. Its ribbed design gives added strength and strong stacking ability. Akro-Grid containers are compatible with most racks, shelving, and automated material handling equipment. Colors choices are Red, Blue, Gray, and Clear. These stackable containers can be moved quickly and easily with the optional dolly for better material handling or creating a Lean Pull/Kanban System with items at Point-of-Use. These are perfect for holding parts, components or items for manufacturers, hospitals, office areas and even your home. By using containers like the Akro-Grids you can have a better handle on your inventory accuracy, shorten lead-times by having the right item where you need it, optimize your storage space by minimizing the footprint, and improve parts or component protection. For additional versatility, combine the Akro-Grids and dollies with Material Handling Systems like Mono Rails, Parking Slots, and FIFO Rail systems to complete a well-organized Lean Pull System.

Stop by http://www.5Ssupply.com for more information on how to apply lean principles or to improve your workplace. You can give us a call at 888 4 LEAN 5S (888-453-2657) or drop us a line at info@5Ssupply.com. We love to talk Lean and would be glad to help out. 5S Supply is the premier provider of Lean supplies, training and services.

Crystal BallWay back at the end of last year I opened my big mouth (actually wrote it down) and made some predictions regarding Lean for 2012. So with great humility let’s see how I did…

  1. More culture, less tools – organizations will continue to look beyond the lean tools to building a lean culture.

There is definitely a surge on the emphasis on culture and principles in Lean. We have learned the hard way that the tools are not enough. If you attended any of the Lean conferences in 2012 the trend was that there were many more sessions on culture and people. The tools are still there, but they are just part of truly understanding and implementing Lean. For more information on Lean principles I would recommend “Lean Thinking” and The Shingo Prize.

  1. Healthcare still doesn’t “get it” – lean in healthcare will continue to lag other segments (see #3)

I know that there was a lot of discussion on the Affordable Healthcare Act this last year. I happen to think they missed the boat. To make healthcare more affordable, they should be focusing on reducing waste and hence this will reduce costs and lead-times while increasing quality and service levels. There are some pockets of healthcare that are applying Lean in hospitals but far too many have not seen the light. For a great book on the benefits of Lean in Healthcare I would recommend “One the Mend” (no pun intended).

  1. Is Lean Government possible? – government agencies will continue to see the benefits of applying lean principles and adopt it at a quicker pace

I’ve been personally involved with helping some government agencies applied Lean principles over the last year. Their intentions are good and they want to improve. I suspect many of them are concerned that budgets will be slashed and they will have to find new ways of doing things; and hence are turning to Lean for improvements.

  1. What’s next? – companies will try to look beyond Lean to see “what’s next” even though they haven’t realized the potential of lean

I’ve seen a few articles, advertisements and consultants that are touting the ‘next best thing” throughout the year. It is okay that we are learning more deeply and applying what we have learned in Lean, but why is it that we are always concerned with what’s next? How about focusing on improving the areas that need it with our current principles (see #5)?

  1. Getting Back to Basics – mastery and true understanding of the basic tools of lean like Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA), 5 Whys, 5S, etc.

I’m not sure how to judge this one. I think there is still an undertone of lack of true understanding of the basics element of Lean. This might be in part to chasing ‘what’s next’ (see #4). We need to continue to coach and mentor our people in the fundamentals of Lean so that they truly can become lean thinkers.

So as you can tell, I am no soothsayer, nor an oracle to the future so I will save us the trouble and not make predictions for 2013 except one – many of us will continue to support and propel Lean forward to those who are willing to accept it.

All the best for 2013!

P.S. Don’t forget to stop by 5S Supply to see what’s new!


5S Supply is pleased to announce that it now carries the Cobra VnM8 SignMaker. This highly versatile and cost effective sign making unit is simple to operate. No more waiting for signs; all you have to do is type and print!

What’s nice about this unit is that it is simple and easy to use compared to other large printers. You can start printing right away with custom templates preloaded into the software. For even more customization we recommend the VnM LabelDirect software package. This offers all the features you would expect from a professional labeling package including database integration, copy fitting, variable graphics, serial numbers and industry standard linear and 2D barcode symbologies; plus many other unique features. We highly recommend this software to maximize the capabilities of the VnM8.

This unit is not just for manufacturers; this is a perfect solution for hospitals, labs, stores and more.

Save time (and money!) because you don’t have to wait two weeks or more for an outside sign shop or deal with minimum order quantities. This could save you up to 50-80% compared to online or print shops. You want it, you print it. The Cobra VnM8 has tons of media and label choices that are up to 70% lower costs compared to other printing systems. Overall, if you want to make you workplace visual and lean the VnM8 is extremely cost effective solution.

We carry several media types and ink sizes and colors to choose from including:

  • Vinyl
  • Reflective
  • Fluorescent
  • Glow-in-the-dark
  • and Magnetic
  • Ink rolls 6″ or 8″
  • All in a variety of colors


  • Custom Signs and Labels 4″ to 9″
  • No PC Needed
  • Simple, Easy to Use
  • Print over 50 symbols


  • OSHA Signs
  • ANSI Signs
  • Custom Signs
  • HazMat Signs
  • Custom Labels
  • Vehicle Signs
  • Biohazard Signs
  • Forms and Procedures
  • One-point Lessons
  • Drum Labels
  • Facility Signs
  • 5S Labeling
  • and much, much more!

Click here for more information>> VnM8 SignMaker

5S Supply is your source for Lean Healthcare and we just added three new books to our selection!

  • Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey
  • Sustaining Lean in Healthcare
  • Leveraging Lean in Healthcare

Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey

See how lean is applied in real-world healthcare and hospital situations with case studies and practical information. Written by remarkable change agents from the front lines at Seattle Children’s and other forward-thinking organizations, this book discusses ways to transform key personnel into change agents and engage all staff in a patient-focused culture dedicated to eliminating waste and improving all aspects of quality and care.

Authors: Joan Wellman, Howard Jeffries, Pat Hagan

292 pages


Regular Price: $59.00                      Introductory Price $50.00

Special Offer – combine “Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey” with 5S for Healthcare DVD and save even more!

Leveraging Lean in Healthcare

This book will help to take you out of your comfort zone and provide you with new ways to extend value to your customers. It drives home the importance of the Lean Six Sigma journey. The pursuit of continuous improvement is a journey with no end. Consequently, the opportunities are endless as to what you and your organization can accomplish.

Authors: Charles Protzman, George Mayzell, MD, Joyce Kerpchar

402 pages


Regular Price: $74.00                      Introductory Price $63.00






Sustaining Lean in Healthcare

One of the first books to focus on physician engagement during a Lean effort, Sustaining Lean in Healthcare: Developing and Engaging Physician Leadership explains how to ensure ongoing physician participation long after the consultant leaves. Dr. Michael Nelson, an early adopter of Lean in healthcare, explains how to use these synergistic tools to achieve consistently high levels of quality and clinical care outcomes.

Author: Michael Nelson

148 pages


Regular Price: $59.00                      Introductory Price $50.00


Another Special Offer

Combine the book “On the Mend” with the DVD Thinking Lean at ThedaCare: Strategy Deployment and save over $20!