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SDI’s POV on 5S Methodology

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Posted by on Wed, 12/10/2014


“5S” is a process methodology that ensures “everything has a place and there is a place for everything.” There are numerous references to 5S practices throughout the Internet and via professional courses, but SDI considers 5S more than an industry buzzword. True Best-in-Class storeroom efficiencies actively engage in 5S practices on a continuous basis.

Japanese Roots

5S traces its current roots to Japanese manufacturing during post-WWII reconstruction, where early American management practices during the Industrial Revolution were studied and improved upon. The pillars of 5S originate from the Japanese words Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke, which are loosely translated into the terms Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. These 5S pillars are the foundation of efficiency in storeroom operations. SDI not only revises and improves storeroom operations when we assume a storeroom, we utilize a continual 5S process in our daily operations to maximize the storage of items and reduce the cost of inventory. Based on usage statistics, we utilize our proprietary inventory management system to calculate the levels items in stock while still maintaining inventory levels appropriate to ensure continual operations.  

Staying Connected is a Must

The pillars of 5S work best in a cycle, as each step plays an integral role in the continuation of efficient operations. Each step leads to the next, which continues the cycle. Industry storerooms are busy environments that rarely stand still, so they can easily fall into disarray and disorganization. Implementing 5S practices into daily operations enables a storeroom to always maintain peak efficiency. SDI’s process starts with a full storeroom assessment that includes a detailed floorplan to oversee the storeroom layout. This will expose the lines of work processes, the location of commodities, and the wastes that are inevitable in storerooms that may have been built ad-hoc, had multiple additions, or generally suffer from years of neglect. Examining the layout of the storeroom in relation to the work processes of the storeroom staff and the adjacent plant will enable the 5S champion to design better work flows and commodity storage. This is followed by dividing the storeroom into sections to better tackle the initial 5S phases into condensed areas.  Sections are then isolated on the floorplan and given benchmark dates for completion of the 5S process.

SDI Site Manager – Champion for 5S in Every SDI Storeroom

Responsibilities include the design of storeroom, creation of the 5S action plan, monitoring of 5S practices and the training of the storeroom staff. Employee buy-in is crucial as any operation is only as efficient as each employee’s dedication to the cause. Once employees understand 5S principles and take pride in workplace, their daily work practices will seamlessly assume the principles of 5S and the cycle of efficiency utilizing 5S pillars becomes a daily routine.   
SDI’s Best-in-Class storerooms implement 5S practices that bring more than cleanliness and commodity separation. All unnecessary items are identified, tagged, separated and eventually removed for the storeroom. Proper identification of items eliminates wasted time in searches for missing parts. Proper labeling includes barcoding of all parts and locations, removal of excessive inventories and cost-saving measure such elimination of antiquated min/max platforms and OEM reengineering. Effective signage and floor markings help eliminate wastes and ensure efficient workflows.
In addition to 5S progress tracking, all storeroom operations are constantly under review to eliminate waste and promote continual improvement. Poka-Yoke is a method in which common errors are cataloged for review, improvement and elimination if necessary. Such processes and improvements do not happen automatically – they result from the keen eye of engaged storeroom personnel. 

SDI Adds a 6th Pillar

To the standard 5S plan, SDI adds Safety. Referring to the adage “no job is too important not to conduct it safely”, we strive for safety awareness in all operations. All personnel have extensive safety training and perform their duties in a safe manner. No storeroom operation is complete without a finishing safety review, no storeroom runs as efficiently as an SDI Best-in-Class Storeroom, and no storeroom operation is complete without 5S practices engrained into daily workflows.

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