By Paul Idziak
Shermco Industries, Inc.
Last fall, the Management Services Committee discussed findings from the most recent Member Needs Assessment Survey. “Lean service” was the number one area where members want EASA to focus its management education resources over the next three years.
For those who may not be familiar with this concept, lean service is an approach to eliminating waste and disorganization with a goal of improving efficiency and productivity.
To meet this desire for additional resources on lean service, the committee agreed to develop and publish a series of Currents articles on the “5S” program (which you may have heard about), and modifying it to add safety. The traditional “5S” program covers these goals: sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain. We’ve added safety to make it the “5+1 S Series.”
A VIDEO INTRODUCTION TO 5S
Members of the committee will write articles on how each “S” can help you with a path to productivity by becoming more efficient, or lean. I volunteered to write the first article, focusing on the first S: Sort.
The sort activity allows your team to “clean house” to get the essentials for completing future activities effectively and safely.
Start by setting up the criteria to help determine needed and unneeded items in your service center. Factors can include: frequency of usage, location in facility, whether defective/obsolete, and many other factors.
After determining the criteria, the team will need to go through the area of interest and “red tag” items considered for purge. As a team, everyone will review red tagged items and make a final judgment as to whether they need to be discarded.
Before removing the materials from your service center, investigate if your company has any accounted value for them. The item could be considered an asset and may be in inventory. Also, check with other departments, divisions, or areas of the company that could use the red tagged items. You may even be able to sell the items to help fund your 5+1 S endeavors.
You may find that your team has a strong buy in for the sort step. They may have wanted to get rid of the items for a while and appreciate the clean workspace.
Next month: Focus on straighten
Once you complete this step and eliminate the appropriate items, you’re ready to move on to the next “S” goal: Straighten. It will be covered in next month’s article.