If you are looking for ways to improve your IT Service Depot the best place to start is with a 5S System. Establishing a 5S System will lay the foundation on which you build a lean quality management system using continuous improvement principles. A 5S System cost very little to start and will yield results you can see right away.
5S refers to a list of five Japanese words which are part of the Kaizen philosophy of workplace management. It is a method of organizing and managing your workspace and work flow to improve efficiency, eliminate waste (muda) and improve processes. Another benefit is that a clean workplace will improve the morale of those that work in it.
A 5S System is not just about cleaning up. A 5S System will get rid of anything that is not needed, organizing everything that is needed, cleaning on a daily basis, standardizing to support the system and having leadership and team members exercise the self-discipline to make it a daily habit.
Here is an overview of the 5S System we have adopted in our IT Service Depot. Over the next series of articles I will go over how to plan a 5S System launch and each step in the 5S System.
- Sort through each workspace and remove anything that is not needed. The goal is to reduce the number of items in the area.
- Keep only what is needed in a workspace. Dispose of or put in place what is not needed.
- The goal is to leave nothing in a workspace except work in progress and the tools and supplies needed to do the work.
STRAIGHTEN – “A place for everything and everything in its place”
- All tools, parts and equipment to be tested or repaired have designated areas. They should be kept in and returned to those designated areas.
- Do not stock equipment to be repaired in the shop. Only bring in what you will be working on.
- All boxes to be reused will be stored outside of the shop in the designated area.
- All carts and hand trucks will be stored outside of the shop in the designated area.
- All large parts are to be stored outside of the shop in the designated areas or in the parts room.
- Parts and supplies will not be stockpiled in the workspace with the exception of a small quantity of the most used parts in 2-3 small boxes that go under the bench or on a shelf or in part bins.
- Your goal will be to have your work completed and the workspace cleared of equipment you are working on 20 minutes before it is time for you to leave for the day.
SHINE – Cleanliness
- Clean at the end of each day and as you work. Dispose of trash, scrap and cardboard in the designated areas.
- Dispose of anything no longer of use as you work.
- Benches should be wiped down daily and testing equipment cleaned as needed.
- Floors should be swept at the end of each day and mopped once at least once a week.
- Trash cans more than half full should be emptied at the end of each day.
- Parts should be put up when they are received in their designated area.
- Trash can liners will be used. No heavy parts are disposed of in trash cans.
- The SORT-STRAIGHTEN-SHINE Checklist is performed during the last 20 minutes of your work day.
- Detailed system maps show the designated areas for everything.
SUSTAIN – Self-Discipline
- Maintaining a stabilized workplace is an ongoing process of continuous improvement.
- Service technicians should take pride in keeping their workspace clean and organized.
- The 5 S’s should become a part of your daily routine. Make it a habit.
Low Cost, Big Return
One of the best things about a 5S System is it cost nothing to start. Often a 5S System is implemented then forgotten. The only way to make sure this does not happen is to make it visible and measurable. Put up 5S posters. Create a checklist for each workspace to be carried out at the end of each day. They are a visible reminder at each workspace what should be done.
On the last day of the month have a Sort, Straighten and Shine event. Bring in snacks, drinks and music. Be creative with the event. Involve everyone in the event. A solid 5S System should be the cornerstone of your cycle of continuous improvement. One that you can build on to create a lean and efficient IT Service Depot.
As with any workplace system a 5S System should be subject to continuous improvement. There is always a better way to do something and you should continuously look for ways to improve the system. IT departments are in a constant state of change with new technology in need of service. You must improve your 5S System to adapt to these changes.