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Get Lean In 5 Steps! - Part 2

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Finding the Right Place for the Right Tool.


As discussed last time, we got ruthless and sorted or "Seiri" to reduce the amount of stuff in your workspace (this will also work in other spaces but I digress) as I took inspiration from the book The Lean Farm - How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work by Ben Hartman.


Hopefully, it inspired you to clear out your workspace so that all that is left is the things you need. Now onto "right tool, right place".


Back in the day, I took Home Economics - Home Ec. My favorite part was cooking. What I loved was how the kitchen had the drawers and cabinets labeled and each utensil in the drawers had an outline of its shape on a laminated poster board cut to fit the drawer. It was amazing how easy it was to grab the right tool when I needed it. The right place for the right tool.


Step 2 Seiton - Set in Order


The second "S" in the 5S methodology translates to "Set in Order" in English. The primary objective of Seiton is to arrange items and tools in a manner that makes them easy to find, access, and put away when not in use. This organization helps minimize wasted time searching for items and reduces the likelihood of accidents due to clutter.


Note - I know there are those of you who live in chaos and know where things are. The problem is when it's a critical moment can you find what you need?


Can someone else with a little direction find the document you need? If the answer is NO, then you need to make it a priority to get organized.


Hey, if business is slow, now is the time to get into revamping your workspace.


When implementing Seiton, the following key practices are typically applied:


1. Grouping and Categorization: Group similar items together based on their function or purpose. This helps create clear zones for specific tools or materials, making it easier for you to locate what you need.


For instance, if you always use certain apps on a daily basis you most likely will have them on a taskbar at the bottom of your screen or directly on your desktop of your computer. The magic of technology.


2. Clearly Defined Locations: Assign a specific and fixed location for each item or tool. Mark the designated spots with labels or indicators to ensure everyone returns items to their proper place after use.


Since you have most likely gone digital things like a stapler and hole punch, while necessary on occasion, will now be located by your printer in a drawer. This is an item that you will need on occasion and can be at hand only less in the way.


3. Visual Management: Utilize visual cues like color-coded labels, shadow boards (boards with all tools clearly lined out and labeled), or floor markings to indicate where items belong. Visual management helps maintain order and makes it easy to spot missing tools or misplaced items.


This also includes good lighting. Make sure your space has excellent lighting to keep you aware of items or other things that are out of place. Poor lighting can hide a number of imperfections. Perfection is not the goal, clarity and efficiency are.


4. Efficient Storage Solutions: Use appropriate storage methods such as shelves, racks, cabinets, and drawers to optimize the use of space and keep items neatly arranged. Be careful with this one. Too many storage spots can lead to the accumulation of stuff that you worked hard to reduce.


Find homes for your tools, label their new homes, and do another clear-out on a schedule to ensure that the new places for your items are the right ones.


By practicing Seiton, you are in the process of becoming more efficient and productive which will foster clarity, discipline, and responsibility.


We will dive into the next 5S which is Seiso - Shine.


Until next time.

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