How to Implement Lean Manufacturing: Straighten and See (5S) – Part 3

Rick Bohan

In our last post, we took a few moments to talk about the why of Visual Factory (Straighten and See).  Let’s get back to the how.

Two posts ago, we spent some time discussing how to get this Straighten and See phase organized.  Now let’s look at exactly what you need to actually do.  It all comes down to one thing:  You’re going to provide a marked and labeled home address for EVERYTHING in your shop.  Yes, everything from that 400-Ton press down through dies and tools and materials and finished goods down to nuts and bolts and allen wrenches and routing sheets will have a marked and labeled place to go.

And that’s not all…

You’re going to be creative about making gages and indicators easy to see and monitor.  You’re going to make controls easy to read and easy to “figure out”.  All equipment and machinery will have essential operating and safety information readily visible.  Not just available, as in “It’s in that book over there in the work desk drawer,” but VISIBLE as in, “I can see what to do and how to do it from ten feet away.”  As in, you could put a new person on the machine or work station and, with some basic instructions, that person do what’s needed in a safe manner.  Finally, you’re going to be posting, so that it’s visible, not just available, information that operators and managers need. For example, you’ll be posting performance metrics and schedules  for each department and work station.

So, in the Straighten and See phase, we’ll be:

  1. Establishing a marked and labeled home address for everything!
  2. Marking equipment and machinery so that it’s easy to operate and/or monitor safely.
  3. Establishing easy to see information about work station performance and activity.

We’ll address each of these in our next several posts with as many visual examples as we can muster.


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