The first principal of the 5S system, Sort, is where you take and identify those items that are needed for you to accomplish your work. Those necessary items are what we will now focus on. Straighten, or Setting in Order, is the second principal of the 5S system. In order for you to have an efficient work place, you need to have the correct tools and supplies close at hand and you need to be able to quickly find them. Everything must have its place, and be in its place.
Looking at the desks in our building, mine has to be the most disorganized. When I am done with a book or an item it is pushed out of they way rather than placed back where it belongs. It’s a good thing the engineers are moved around so my desk gets cleaned up once in a while. I’m forced into compliance, although I’m no where near as bad as someone who worked here several years ago. On the other hand, my garage at home… let’s just say that sometimes it takes more time to find the tools that I need for a project than it does to complete the project. This principal of 5S is all about making your work area more efficient. Setting up work stations or areas for work and having the correct tools and supplies in those areas are keys to becoming more efficient in the tasks that you do.
In the area that you have to work set aside areas for the storage of supplies and tools. Keep the tools that you need more often closer to hand than those that you use less frequently. Set aside a place for them and label it. Shadow boards or cut outs in foam in your tool box are good examples of this. Doing this allows you to quickly find the tool that you need. It also allows you to know at a glance if you are missing any tools needed for the job at hand. Totes or bins can be labeled and placed in the areas that are needed. If you are working on an assembly line only have the tools and supplies that you need in your area. Arrange them in a fashion that facilitates the work flow. Minimize the clutter. Put tools in their designated place after they are used. Keep a clean and organized work area.
By organizing and cleaning your area, you can maximize your efficiency and increase your work flow. Greater efficiency and more work done makes for happy people. For me this means more time to do an extra item on the honey-do list at home. And this does make the Boss happy.