5S – Set In Order (Seiton)

Hopefully, by now you have completed Step 1 – Sort.  However, if you have not completed the SORT step; please read my previous post.  It is not recommended to move on with two-stage 2 without completing stage 1.

So let’s get started with Step 2 – Set in Order – Once everything has been Sorted; it
is time to set things back in order. Make sure you put back only “what you really need”. It is also important to think carefully about where everything should be positioned for both easy access AND keeping safety in mind.

The main objective is to “create a specific place for everything”. This step should not by any means be taken lightly OR be rushed. It takes careful planning and attention to
detail in order to do it the right way. The second objective is to “create a  system” to make sure that it is not only put back in the correct (same) place when used but in the case of materials and supplies to have a way to monitor quantities in order to make sure that items are reordered/restocked when necessary.

Create a specific place for everything:

The first step in this process is careful planning. It is important to keep in mind that everything within each work area will need to have a designated location in order for the employees to be able to access what they need both quickly and safely.  Plus, the employees should be able to easily identify if something is missing or out of place. In order to organize everything neatly, you may need to consider purchasing and/or building some or all of the following: shelves, racks, bins, cabinets, carts, cribs and/or shadow boards.  My suggestion is to put everything where you “think” it should go and try it for a week in your day-to-day operation. At the end of the week; review the work area in order to see if you need to adjust anything. (Try not to adjust “daily” or “on the fly”). Don’t forget to actually define and/or outline each work area, travel (movement) areas, walk-through areas, completed work areas, storage areas, etc. Once you have completed a full month working with “where everything is” and you are comfortable with the visibility and accessibility of all items it is time to create a system.

Create a system:

It is now time to properly label everything.  The purpose of labeling is to identify what is
supposed to be stored where AND in the case of materials when it should be re-ordered PLUS in the case of equipment when it was serviced last and when it is recommended to be serviced again.

It is important to keep all labels standardized including the use of the same style and format. This will not only help with quick visual identification plus it will make them easy to understand. Further, it is also recommended that you color code different types of labels. By color-coding the labels (or using different color labels) it will be easy to identify items for safety, fire hazard, equipment, zones etc.

In order to track supplies and materials that need to be re-ordered; you can use Kanban cards (By definition: The Kanban card is, in effect, a message that signals depletion of product, parts, or inventory that when received will trigger the replenishment of that product, part or inventory) in clear plastic sleeves OR actual plastic cards that can be written on with erasable markers. These cards should identify the name of the item (with part # if available), the quantity to re-order, the supplier (including phone #) of where to order from, and where the material should be stored. There should also be an area on the card where you can fill in the date ordered, the expected date of arrival, and who ordered the item. Once the order has been placed, the card should be returned to the appropriate location.

A similar system should be set up for equipment/tools that need to be maintained on a regular basis in order to keep them safe for use, avoid downtime for avoidable breakages, plus in order to extend their lifespan. There is no point re-inventing the wheel here. Most manufacturers have recommended maintenance schedules that you can use. The details of what is to be completed at each inspection including who to contact for maintenance, the completion date, and a signature area, should be attached to (or in a specific area identified near the equipment). This should be combined with a shared calendar system with a schedule of all due dates for maintenance and who should be responsible for the maintenance or responsible for calling to schedule the maintenance. The purpose of the calendar will help to both remind you of when things need to be completed, plus give you a guide of what was supposed to be completed in order that you may monitor that the necessary maintenance has been completed regularly.

The last step (and the step that is often ignored or forgotten) is to create a logbook of all equipment, tools, and supplies within the complete organization and identify where each item is located. (When I refer to a “book”; please create this electronically so that it can be centralized and easily modified when items are replaced/upgraded)

Finally, a word of advice; don’t get discouraged. This will be a bigger undertaking and it will take more time to complete than the Sort step. I recommend that you complete one work area/zone at a time and make sure that you get the employees involved. After all, it is their daily work area and they need to be comfortable. Also, if the employee has active input in their work zone they will be more likely to have pride in their area and they will keep it clean.