A view from an assembly shop manager…
At Setpoint we follow the 5 S’s system, as the shop manager here is my take on how we are able to implement this in our assembly shop.
- Sort – This is the hardest part for me. I have a hard time throwing things away that could be very expensive or hard to get. But, if I haven’t needed it in a long time, it ends up costing me more to store it than to buy it new when we need it. By doing this you will free up more space, make your shop look more organized and less cluttered, make it faster to find what you are looking for, and end up costing your company less in the long run.
- Straighten – For this you need to find a place to put everything you have decided to keep. Look around for the best place to put the item, once you find that place mark it with tape or outline it so everyone knows where to put it away. This needs to be done with everything, make it so at a glance you can tell if there is something left out or not put back where it belongs. Think of it this way, if you have a new employee you would like them to be productive as quickly as possible so they can start working without looking for the tools they need.
- Shine – Just like it sounds, keep it clean. This could mean sweeping, putting tools away, or taking out the trash. The more organized you are the less time it takes you to clean up. It should look the same when you leave work as it did when you got there.
- Standardize – This could mean using all the same brand of drills or tools so they are interchangeable and you can replace them as they wear out; using the same vendors so they are familiar with your shops lay-out and how you like things, and where to put the items they are delivering. Also, by using the same assembly and staging methods each time, this will help everyone get accustomed to the rules and guidelines your company has set up. These guidelines can be followed without thinking about it or asking someone where to put a tool away.
- Sustain – This is another hard one because when you have a lot of work to get done you tend to skip over some things that may not seem that important at the time. When you let this happen it can get out of hand very fast, making a habit of cleaning and putting things away makes it easier to maintain them. This is critical to the five S’s system; if you let it slip you end up doing the first three over and over. Don’t be afraid to change something that just doesn’t feel right, find what works for you and your company.