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This is the final installment of five tips to help select the correct tool board.

#5 Labeling and Color-coding

This is how your tool board becomes a waste killing machine. This is probably my favorite part of making an effective and efficient tool board that associates will actually use and put tools back. As part of 5S workplace organization, the second “S” is “set-in-Order. The saying for this is “A place for everything and everything in its place!” This ensures that you have the right tool when you want it, where you want it. There is no time wasted looking for the right tool.

15-minutes_Time_Wasted_Searching_for_ToolsAccording to a recent poll, 57% of respondents stated that 15 minutes or more were lost looking for tools. Now, that’s pure waste.

Organize your tools, but take it one step further – label and color-code them. These are low cost solutions versus the waste of searching or replacing lost tools. As part of the fourth “S” in 5S, “standardize” your system. By using tool shadows and labels everyone will know where the proper tool is and more importantly where it goes. When the tool is returned to the board any one will know the correct spot to put it back. Another tip is to use Tool Tracer™ Tool Shadows with the exclusive Tool ID Band™ (patent pending). This way if you have multiple tool boards, you can color-code the board according to work area or process. So if a “blue” tool is in a “red” area it is easily seen and corrected.

Tool_Tracer_Shipping_StationDon’t forget to label your board. Make the labels a nice contrasting color like black & white, black & yellow, blue & white and so on. Also, make sure the labels and printing are large enough to see from a distance. The header for the tool board should be about 1-1//2” – 2-1/2” high. The labels for the actual tools should be a minimum of 12pt font, 18pt is better. Find what works for your area.

A well labeled board with the proper tool shadows will make your workplace more product, organized and reduce stress!

Don’t forget to check out 5S Supply for tool boards and Tool Tracer™ Tool Shadows.

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This is the fourth tip in a series of five to help select the correct tool board. Tip #4 Hooks

Believe it or not the hooks you select make a big difference. There are a variety of sizes and styles of hooks out there. Select the ones that fit your tools the best. Also consider other accessories like document holders, bins or shelves. Document holders can have work instructions, One-point Lessons, schedules and other notices. Bins and shelves can hold parts and other items. These accessories make it convenient to have these items at point of use.Tool_Board_Hooks_SS

An important feature of hooks is to make sure you get the kind that screw into or lock into the board. Some hook types just hang there. These are more problematic when come off the board asyou grab the tool. Another tip is considering having the tool horizontal (across two or more hooks) instead of just hanging up and down.

Next Tip #5 Labeling and Color-coding

This is the third tip in a series of five to help select the correct tool board.

#3 Tool Board Size

Mobile_Tool_WorksHaving the right size board at point-of-use is critical to making a tool board that employees will actually use. In Tip #1 Tool Board Type, I mentioned the types of boards (wood, plastic or steel) along with typical sizes. Wood and plastic boards are the easiest to cut to the size you need. Steel boards are usually not cut to size because of their construction. The easiest piece of advice is to not go too small or go too big. You might be tempted to go small because of cost. Consider the cost of having to get another board if you are wrong. On the other hand, many people think “I’ll get the biggest one they make” which too could be a mistake. Getting a board that is way larger than your needs and growing into it can cause undue confusion, clutter and additional waste. Stick the size you need, where you need it. Consider going mobile to make it easier to have it at point-of-use or to clean (“shine” – the third “S” in 5S) around it.

Check out one of our more popular blog post: “Finally! A Tool Shadow Board that Works

Coming up next, Tip #4 Hooks

Tool Tracer

If your Dad likes tinkering in the garage or his workshop then give him a hand this Father’s Day to get his tools organized with Tool TracerTM – Peel and Stick Tool Shadows. These are the perfect addition to a well-ordered tool board. Help Dad save time on his projects and reduce stress searching for his favorite tools.

Tool Tracer 25 pc Set

Tool Tracer 25-piece Set

The 25 piece pack has the most common DIY’ers tool shadows ready to go, including:

  • 12-piece combination wrench set
  • 3-piece plier set
  • 2-piece adjustable wrench set
  • 6-piece screwdriver set
  • 2-piece locking plier set

Choose Dad’s favorite color – 11 colors to choose from. Made from 3 mil polymeric-blend glossy opaque calendered vinyl film; these tool shadows are long lasting with a 4 year interior or exterior durability rating.

With these professional tool shadows, your dad will be the superstar of the neighborhood! Get him a second set for his tools at work.

For more information>> Tool Tracer – Pre-Cut Tool Shadows

Thank you to everyone that participated in our poll regarding time wasted searching for tools. Here are the results.

Greater than 50% of the respondents said that more than 15 minutes is wasted per day (per employee) searching for tools.
Time Wasted Searching for Tools Infographic
That time adds up quickly. Let’s say you have five technicians losing 15 minutes per day searching for items they need to do their work, which equals 75 minutes per day, or 735 hours per year. If you take the 735 hours at $20 per hour, that is equivalent to losing $7,500 of productive time(1).

A simple way to reduce this waste of time, effort and dollars is to get the tools organized. Something as easy as using Tool Tracer Peel and Stick Tool Shadows can reduce the time lost searching for items. Check out Tool Tracer at 5S Supply.com.

Note (1): Based on 5 days per week and 52 weeks per year. Feel free to use your own number to complete your calculation.

Please help us with another quick, one question poll “Does Floor Marking Improve Productivity and Safety?” We will share the results. And please share the poll with your co-workers and colleagues!

How much time is lost when your CNC Operator has to search for tooling? This is a classic example of waiting waste, motion (walking) and transportation (moving items) waste.

Q. What’s one of the main causes of this waste?

A. Not having what you need, where you need it.

Many CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machines have carousels to hold needed tooling, but unfortunately it never seems to hold all the tools you need. Countless manufacturing companies and job shops keep the CNC tooling in a Tool Room. Regrettably, these are not typically located next to the CNC’s.

Here’s a simple solution – have CNC Tool Carts next to your machine. By placing needed CNC Tooling next to the machines you can reduce waste by keeping them at “point-of-use”. This is part of “Set-in-Order” from the 5S’s. Organize tooling by how often it is used, label it and color-code it to make it easier to identify quickly.

If you can reduce or eliminate the wasted searching time, there can be phenomenal savings.

Estimated Payback Examples:Searching Waste Infographic

Search Time For Tools

(per Shift)

Number of Shifts

Estimated Hourly Rate

(Man, Machine, Production)

Savings per Year

(5 days per week, 52 weeks per year)

15 minutes

1

$100

$6,500

15 minutes

2

$100

$13,000

15 minutes

3

$100

$19,500

25 minutes

1

$150

$16,250

30 minutes

2

$175

$45,500

15 minutes

3

$50

$19,500

5S Supply has partnered with Stor-Loc to provide five different styles of CNC Tool racks including:

  • TO-SL-CSC_Detail-1Stor Caddy – great for Changeovers! Customize with 1-3 drawers to hold inspection tools, etc.
  • Tool Cart – includes two pull out decks for tooling
  • Tool Rack – when you need more storage at point-of-use, eight shelves
  • Tool Caddy – mobile solution to hold your tools,
  • Mini Tool Caddy – when space is at a premium, four shelves

 Get your workplace organized, save time and money with Stor-Loc and 5S Supply!

"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.