The structured "5S" method (see box below) is an effective tool used for applying the principles of GPS. Gränges teams all over the world are discovering that 5S pays off - that by maintaining an organized workplace they can raise quality, lower costs, decrease lead time and boost productivity and saftey.
Depending on the individual's role and responsibilities, they might reorder storage facilities, clear passageways, label shelves and drawers, put up sign posts in restricted areas, replace worn-out tools or demarcate work zones. Anything goes when it comes to organizing the workplace in a way that allows problems to be detected easily.
“So far, we’ve divided up our production facilities, starting with pilot projects in certain areas, and we are expanding our efforts to cover entire plants, worldwide,” says Neutjens.
In Shanghai, for example, the plant has been split into about 70 areas. Employee teams are implementing 5S in nine pilot areas where they are establishing the foundations for a continuously improving operation. Now they just need to keep up the good work. Because good housekeeping in the workplace is a bit like at home: no matter how satisfied you are with the order you create, unless you maintain it, things quickly slide back into a state of chaos.
“If you don’t keep equipment surfaces clean, it’s hard to spot a problem and take action,” says Neutjens. “Imagine if a stack of boxes is misplaced on the shop floor, causing a blind spot... A forklift truck might come around the corner and hit someone."
"GPS is a journey, and it takes time. In fact, it takes forever since you can always improve things. With time, things just get better and better."