S Communications Board

Tiny House made easy by Adam Ketcher Review

House Plans and Home Floor Plans

Get Instant Access


To remove the clutter, we need to identify it. Begin by sifting through everything to see what to keep and what to move on. Anything not needed to meet current customer requirements must be moved on. Much of the clutter is "just-in-case" material. If it is needed to support your company, then mark and store it. Otherwise, send the excess "stuff" for disposal.

Sketch out the existing floor plan and add it to the communications board. Note the location of all work benches, desks, equipment, and shelves. Make a note of where the electrical and network outlets are located. 5S teams are empowered to move equipment, shelves, and desks. Just about anything is fair game, except walls and doors. If additional

Figure 13-2


Figure 13-2


wiring is needed to support the new locations, then the executive sponsor arranges for prompt skilled trades support. Refer to Figure 13-2 for an example of a "before" floor plan for a printer room.

The steps in sorting are:

1. Make a sketch of the current floor plan that identifies all work areas, storage areas, etc.

2. Select collection points for material that is used occasionally and should be kept nearby and for material that needs to go to disposal. Some sites also select an intermediate disposal area. Things are placed here for six months or a year; at the end of that time, anything not used becomes trash.

3. Purchase piles of red, yellow, and green tags at the local office supply store. Green is for things that stay, yellow for nearby storage, and red for donate, sell, or trash.

4. Decide how to address disposal items. A paper recycling hopper is recommended, along with collection points for batteries and small electronic parts. Surplus equipment must be properly removed from the company's asset books before disposal. Excess devices may be recycled through the company's equipment disposal program.

5. Open all cabinets, boxes, drawers, closets, and wiring cabinets. Tag everything to stay or go. Be thorough - look everywhere. If something does not have a tag, it must have been overlooked. Sometimes the most value things that are found are the ones that were best hidden.

6. Make a list of "found" material and what was done with it. Assign a value to found material that will be kept for local use, including the value of donated goods and the weight of trash sent for proper disposal.


Every time an area is cleaned up, someone in another department tries to shove overflow junk into it. Be sure that the 5S IT champion enforces the policy, so that areas cleaned out stay that way. Reward departments based on how much space is freed.

Many work spaces consist of a series of piles. Even the systems documentation in desk drawers is more likely to be stuffed in one place rather than organized for easy reference. In the midst of this cleanout, keep sight of the people side. Some people are emotionally attached to their "stuff" and become very hostile or emotionally upset at its examination or departure. Be sensitive, but firm. Watch for people who shuffle junk to another department for safekeeping until 5S blows over. People attracted to IT jobs are sometimes very possessive of their work spaces, and perceived status.

Set aside storage space for IT materials that are only used once per year. Income tax W-2 forms are often printed on an impact printer. This is because the software is rarely used and the company may not want to spend much money reformatting the individual form to a laser printer. The same is true for documentation and process instructions that may only be used during fiscal year closing time.


Think about the problems you may have experienced trying to find things when the key support person is not available. Sick days, vacations, training, and many other circumstances pull people out of their work areas - often at the least convenient time. In this situation, the people on-site must do the best they can with what they can find to work with. This is very frustrating when the regular support person keeps information or parts in a "private" location.

Straighten is the step in which everything is placed in a dedicated space, where it is easy to find. Only an item assigned to that space can be put in that location. All spaces are marked—a shelf, a container, a spot on the floor - everything.

A very powerful result of the Straighten phase is the concept of the visual work place. If everything has a place, and only one place, it is quickly obvious if it is missing or in the wrong place. This has many applications:

▲ Warranty parts for pick up or return to the manufacturer.

▲ Out of stock parts are immediately obvious since the place where they sit is now empty.

▲ Shared tools - a shadow board indicates where each tool goes and if it is missing - the shadow shape also indicates what is missing.

▲ Color-coded labels on shelves indicate which team owns a manual or component.

IT departments use shared work areas. Sometimes it makes more sense to keep materials in a specific work area rather than in one central location. In these situations, make a sign at the central site that indicates where to find materials in these satellite locations.

IT shared spaces:

▲ Files - only current files should be maintained in the IT department. Obsolete documents should be moved to paper recycling. Historical records should be moved to off-site storage (often the same place that archive data tapes are sent). Once the cost for off-site storage is known, many of these documents in file drawers head for disposal.

▲ Manuals library - a central place for all manuals, with some signed out to people who are their primary users.

▲ Spare parts - in marked containers on marked shelves. Materials not in a manufacturer's box are tagged as good, with the most recent test date.

▲ Tools -inexpensive hand tools do not need to be tracked. Expensive shared tools and meters should be on shelves with a label underneath. If something is missing, it is obvious at a glance.

▲ Incoming material drop zone - all deliveries go here. This provides a visual signal that something has come in so people can check to see if it belongs to their project.

▲ Outgoing material drop zone - everyone can see if their shipment has left yet. This is important for the return of warranty parts as at some point, that part is billed.

▲ Surplus electronics drop zone - this is for equipment no one wants; it should be examined for disposal

▲ Battery recycling collection box - does not need to be big but must have a sign above it explaining its purpose - or it will be used as a trash can.

An important part of straightening is to label the proper location for things. In many 5S exercises, the doors on cabinets are removed so everyone can easily see what is stored inside. The goal is to quickly find what is needed in a crisis, with a minimum of searching. If pilferage is an issue, use wire mesh doors and padlocks. At a minimum, the shelf labels should indicate what goes into that location and if it has a part number, IT departments should use color coded labels to indicate which IT team is the primary user or custodian of that item, such as blue for applications development, white for management, red for networking, and so on. This will also reduce duplicate storage locations.


In the Help Desk area, consider labeling the software documentation binders as to the proper book case and shelf. Store the most commonly used items at eye level and the lesser used items at the bottom or top.

IT Teams will want their unique parts located close to their work areas. For example, the Network team will want their components in a separate cabinet or storage area from the desktop computer repair team. Reduce the time spent traveling to pick up something by always storing materials (tools, parts, manuals, etc.) close to their point of application.

Set aside an area for coats, lunch containers, and so on. In wet or snowy weather, items strewn about the work area create obstacles, such as umbrellas that are left open to dry or bulky coats hanging from cubicle walls. By providing an area for these items, accidents are avoided and the amount of mud tracked into the office is reduced.

Now is the time to analyze the workspace to see how it might be changed for more efficient operations. One tool for doing this is the Spaghetti diagram. It tracks the flow of people and work through a work area. Refer to Figure 13-2 for an example floor plan for a printer room. In this example, there are two large laser printers (with voracious appetites for paper) and two impact printers for big jobs that are not used as often. On the left wall is a set of network attached PCs: one to manage the printers and the other for the operators' convenience. There are shelves for supplies along the north and east walls. Of the two doors, one provides access to paper supplies; the other leads to a pick-up point to which reports should be delivered.

The question is, how can this work area be improved? Use the sketch and follow the workers around for a couple of hours. First, measure the number of steps between each major item in the drawing, such as from Laser Printer 1 to the supplies shelf, or the report distribution door to the operator's PC.

As the operators work, draw a line to represent where they walked to do something (to get more paper, to check the printer status, deliver reports, etc.). Refer to Figure 13-3. You can quickly see how these lines make the chart look like a lot of spaghetti. As you draw the lines, keep a list of how many times the workers move from each point to another. After the study is concluded, tally up the number of steps required for each trip between two points.

Based on the 5S team's review, it was decided to move some things closer to the doors, as shown in Figure 13-4. Traditionally, things like the PCs were located next to the wall for esthetics, but for efficiency, they should be closer to the machines. The shelf at the top of the drawing has been removed; its rarely used contents have been moved to the shelf on the right. This frees a significant portion of the room. (Even if there is not an immediate need for this free space, it becomes an asset for future IT service expansion.)



Output Sorting Table

Figure 13-3

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Waste Management And Control

Waste Management And Control

Get All The Support And Guidance You Need To Be A Success At Understanding Waste Management. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To The Truth about Environment, Waste and Landfills.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment