7.17.2008

5S and Waste Reduction

5S is more than housekeeping. It is about work place organization & standardization. It should be clear that this means people organize and standardize their job.

What are we focusing on with 5S? Our work. And we must think of our work as an experiment in process improvement. Take a look at the temperature gauge on the left. This is a control point within our process. It also happens to be the 14th control point in the process. While it is helpful for purposes of checking the control points, the visual control here does not indicate control is had. Is it in control? How do you know?

Manufacturing workers are under greater performance demands than ever before in history. This means higher productivity; sometimes increasing the number of machines per person. It is very unfair and disrespectful to casually assign machines to already busy workers without reducing current workloads. If the machines cannot meet current standards, how do we expect workers to meet the new productivity demands? This machine has hundreds of control points. Here are ten in this picture. Are we in control? How do you know? If they are out of control, what losses should we expect? What could be done to reduce those losses?

The need for control points suggest that something is out of control. We can say with confidence that these dials are adjusted on some frequency. Why do people adjust them? Often because the process is out of control? If something is out of control, what could the reasons be for deciding to make the adjustment?

Experience? Judgement? Intuition? Guessing? Tinkering? Panicking? Fear?

The pressures to perform without a lack of standards, combined with the pressure to be 'empowered' may be part of the causes here.

Or perhaps the control is wrong and the worker doesn't want to bring it back in control? What could the reasons be for this effect?

Lack of confidence? Lack of training? Lack of authority? Perhaps fear?

Regardless of the reason, we are led to the simple fact that a Decision Must Be Made to adjust. It is good initiative on behalf of our workers to make adjustments. It can be catastrophic to make adjustments that bring the process out of control.

In the picture above, what is the correct speed on the dial? How do you know? What should the pressure be adjusted to? How did you make that decision? Visual controls allow us to check, decide and act instantly and correctly. Standardization of these processes brings it all into control. 5S helps us pinpoint problems faster this way. A basic level of organization and standardization allows us to focus on waste, not the day-to-day problems of cleanliness. This will quickly lead to engagement of your employees, soliciting ideas for kaizen.

5S is not housekeeping!

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1 Comments:

At August 22, 2016 at 1:57 AM , Blogger Naviya Nair said...

I have read your blog its very attractive and impressive. I like it your blog.
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