5 Ways LISTA can help you implement a 5S Program

How Does Storage Factor Into 5S Workplace Organization Methodology? November 07, 2014

As a storage and workstation provider, LISTA understands the importance of workplace organization and its overall impact on efficiency. During Modex, one of the manufacturing industry’s biggest supply chain tradeshows, we heard from industrial manufacturers that 5S methodology is fast becoming a way to improve manufacturing processes and enable quicker, more efficient production.

At LISTA, we help companies implement 5S as part of lean manufacturing programs designed to drive waste out of manufacturing processes through storage. Storage solutions play an important part in eliminating waste through inventory management, space reduction, and organization improvement. Here’s a closer look at how:

“A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place” 

This is, in fact, the 5S mantra. 5S, which includes 5 “pillars” of workplace organization (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain), involves, in part, eliminating time wasted searching for, determining how to use, and returning items. Under this philosophy, parts or tools should be arranged in a way that makes them both easy to use and easily accessible. 

By using storage cabinets with barcoded handles and compartments for small assembly pieces, manufacturers can minimize wasted time due to unorganized or misplaced inventory. Mobile storage cabinets and toolboxes can also allow for streamlined efficiency by essentially relocating the workspace to wherever an employee needs to be on the manufacturing floor.

The Relationship Between Fluidity and Efficiency 

At its core, the 5S methodology involves systematically improving productivity by establishing and maintaining an orderly workplace. However, this doesn’t just mean identifying and sorting items so that they're easy to find, but also involves achieving a sense of “flow.” 

What do we mean by this? Developing and sustaining a productive work environment includes adding flexibility to production lines in order to facilitate faster turnaround times. Storage solutions that can be adjusted based on individual facility requirements result in the most efficient operations. For example, our flexible workbench line integrates with existing conveyor systems to improve employee efficiency and keep the process moving.

Bigger Storage Density and a Smaller Footprint 

As stated by the EPA, “a typical 5S implementation [results] in significant reductions in the square footage of space needed for existing operations.” Why is this necessary? The reason is simple: Removing unnecessary items from the production facility frees up space that can be used more effectively (and ensure a more consistent “flow” of operations). 

Modular drawer storage cabinets, which can accommodate everything from small parts to large equipment, allow for the maximum use of cubic space and the highest density storage in the manufacturing facility. By going “floor to ceiling,” companies can take advantage of all available space on the manufacturing floor. 

With consolidation and space utilization becoming key trends in the manufacturing industry, companies are increasingly relying on lean methodologies such as 5S to create highly flexible production environments. While the future of the industry remains to be seen, companies that continually work to improve manufacturing processes and enable more efficient operations best position themselves for success in the long term. 

Be sure to check out our whitepaper, Implementing 5S Workplace Organization Methodology Programs In Manufacturing Facilities for a more detailed look.