Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Daily 5S Walk: Kill Your Darlings

Sorting and Setting in Order doesn't always happen easily the first time. During the daily 5S walk today I noticed that our "red and white sides of clothespins" flag system wasn't working the way I had imagined, even though I'm a [sarcasm font] complete genius and it's almost inconceivable that one of my ideas didn't immediately cause the whole production team to jump for joy.

It's okay to try something you think MIGHT work. Around here we are used to "this might work, and if not, we'll change it" as the default for making improvements. It's an everyday part of our operations and lets us try things, which sometimes work out really well!

This clothespin system wasn't useful, so rather than leaving it up and working around it, we're scrapping it. The clothespins are currently sitting in the Zone of Disarray awaiting my next genius idea for how to use them somewhere else, or perhaps another use entirely. They weren't useful on the production floor, so they had to go.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Daily 5S Walk: Set in Order: Label it!!

On your regular walk, one of the easiest things to spot is under-labeled items. Today I walked right past this set of jugs.

The one on the left was labeled properly before going out onto the studio floor. The other two were rushed into service one day and need to be labeled to match.

A few minutes later, done!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Daily 5S Walk: Sort: Look In the Corners!

Corners are infamous crud-collection areas in your studio. Here, we have 'intentional' storage of a canopy tent for outdoor events (the black bag), and then a stack of buckets right in front. These buckets haven't been touched in months. They should be moved to the red tag area (aka the Zone of Disarray)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Ohaus scale review

In our shop we recently started using an Ohaus dual-display portion scale and I'm in love!

This scale can be bought online, including at Amazon here:

Here are my favorite features, compared to the discontinued KG-20 from AWS, which we use already and which I originally intended to buy for this purpose.

1. Dual display. Two people standing on opposite sides of a table can both read the scale's output - this makes it much easier to spot-check employee's portioning without peering over their shoulder. Even better, whenever we have two employees working, they can both see the scale, putting an extra set of eyeballs on the task to make it more likely we catch simple mistakes.

2. Small and light. The footprint is smaller and the scale can be moved more easily that others.

3. Check-weight feature. This can light up and beep when you get either in range or out of range. This is really helpful when weighing many of the same items - saves worker fatigue and attention for other tasks.

The scale's capacity is slightly lower than our previous model, at 33 pounds instead of 40, but it was also about 1/3 the cost. The resolution is 0.01 lb (metric capacity: 15000g with readability 2g). this is slightly lower readability than the more expensive scale, but still suits our everyday needs within a very small (less than 1%) tolerance.

this blog post contains affiliate links. When purchasing using affiliate links, there is no additional fee, the destination website pays me a small commission on any sales, which helps keep the blog running.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Daily 5S Walk

Your daily walk should take less than 10 minutes. Walk around your studio space and check quickly for:

SORT: items that can be moved to the red tag area
SET IN ORDER: items that are out of place and can be returned to their homes
SHINE: grab a rag and wipe something down

The daily walk is part of your STANDARDIZE and SUSTAIN efforts.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Zone of Disarray, aka The Red Tag Area

In the first step of 5S - Sort - we remove items from an area when we realize they are not used there frequently. This is usually done first as a one-time effort, but it should become an ongoing activity. Unneeded items are removed to make room for useful items and to keep production areas clear of clutter.

Where do these items end up? Quality professionals like to call it a Red Tag Area and label it with red markings. I call mine the Zone of Disarray, and it's a standard size pallet off the main production floor and near my desk. Here's a photo of the Zone today:

Here are some things that are in the zone right now:
-a brochure from a supplier that I wasn't sure I wanted to read
-some soap I made as an experiment that did not turn out how I wanted
-lab coats that were hanging on our coat rack; I realized no one had worn one in months
-a mesh bag with rags in it. These were consistently the last rags used when cleaning because they weren't absorbent, were too small to be useful, etc.
-a bocce ball set (?)
-I could go on, but it's starting to get embarrassing

So, what happens to items in the zone? Whenever I have a spare moment or motivation (afternoon slump is a good time), I pick up items and decide what to do with them. They might get donated to our local crafting reuse store The Waste Shed, thrown out, recycled, or offered to friends and family. The zone gets quickly filled back up again as we keep discovering items on the production floor that don't quite belong. I also have an hour scheduled each week to dedicate to this task, to keep the zone from getting totally out of control.

Having the zone keeps the rest of the production floor clean of clutter. Instead of agonizing over what exactly should happen to an item that doesn't belong, it gets put in this purgatory-like area and awaits a time when I'm able to make a decision about what should happen to it. Production continues smoothly and isn't slowed down by me needing to decide right then and there where something belongs.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Unitaskers Hall Of Shame: Candle Wick Holders

Do you buy industry-specific items to make your products?

Let's talk candle-making. You need to hold the wick in place while the candle solidifies. You can buy wick holders to do this! They are only $0.50 each. Do you use them?

You can also use wooden clothespins. They are $0.10 each (one-fifth the cost) and can be used for lots of other things as well.

Which do you pick?