After your evaluation, items that are not needed for current operations can be placed in your “Red Tag” area. Red tags are attached to the items that are not important, excessive or broken. These items are moved to a storage area for recycling, reassignment, or to be held for a specified amount of time. If an item remains in the Red Tag area for six months — or your specified amount of time — get rid of it since it is not of use to your facility.
Set // Seiton
The second S is Set, as “Set in Order.” Here, you will arrange all of the items and materials that you have decided to keep in the workplace.
While doing this keep in mind that you want easy retrieval and return when the time comes to use each item. You would want to put the feed scoop shovels that employees use daily on a hook or give the rubber mallet they use to bang on the feed mixer when it bridges, a designated spot on their work bench. On the other hand, the hand drill or wrench set that is only used a few times a year should be stored in a cabinet. Through this process, many companies discover duplicate sets of tools since many times different employees that use the same tool all have their own set.
When deciding where to place each item — labeling shelves or containers can help designate storage spots for similar items. Adding hooks, shelves or organizational containers can help when designating spots for all items. In the office or feed store shelves can be labeled to make it easy to identify and find materials.
Items can also be placed in relation to the proximity where they are used. If you have a wrench that is only used on a pellet mill motor, you can create a shadow board and mount it right next to it. A shadow board is a board with a hook to place the item on, that has a shadow of the item drawn or pasted on the board to give easy recognition to everyone that that item belongs there. Another useful “Set in Order” method which can be used in the grain and feed business can be to place small plastic sleeves on feed and/or grain bins so that labels (or index cards) can be prepared which list bin contents — and which can easily be changed when contents change.
While labeling items it can also be helpful to label doors, large pieces of equipment, piping and cabinets. The area should have a place for everything with everything in its place.
Shine // Seiso
For the third step — Shine — a deep cleaning should be performed to begin maintaining your office or shop at that standard. Not only should you get out your mop and broom but consider making long-term changes that will help keep the area “spic and span.” This could be painting the floors to outline walkways, storage areas, work areas, or marking spots where large pieces of equipment are placed. The walls can be painted with markers identifying where the 10th or 50th bin hits to make taking inventory of them much faster.
The items that you have chosen to remain in an area all need to be repaired or replaced if they are broken. Once you have your area cleaned up, it is going to be necessary to have regular, often daily, cleanings or your area will return to the way it was. Having an area clean will make it easier to spot oil leaks, missing tools, and will alert you when your supplies are running low and need to be replaced.
This step can be particularly important when you choose to “5S” your feed store or any other area that the general public sees. Feed and grain businesses tend to be dustier than other businesses so extra effort here is important, and will lead to increased business as urban customers are less accustomed to the dirt and grime associated with an agribusiness. Too often, facilities can really drift into a state that looks dirty and cluttered at best, and just sends messages such as “we don’t care,” “we are not professionals or experts,” or “we aren’t safe” at worst. If nothing else, 5S may be a key part of rebuilding your firm’s image with your evolving market.
We know that cleanup or the “shine” step can be challenging in feed mills or grain elevators due to grain dust. However, improved dust control equipment not only improves the appearance of your facility, but it also improves safety due to reduced danger of explosion.