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?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Hardware Kit for assembling a concrete mixer

the kit has multiple nuts and bolts organized by when they will be used in assembly

This week we assembled a mixer (it's called a concrete mixer, but we'll be using it to mix other things!)

I'm in love with this hardware kit. Instead of a giant bag of nuts and bolts for you to pick through, each of the assembly steps has its own cell with the items you'll need. The cells are labeled and a thin sheet of plastic contains the cells, with a cardboard backing, It even has outlines in case you want to cut them apart!

How many times have you tried to use the wrong piece of hardware during assembly? This method helps. How many times have you ended up with not enough hardware or too much, unclear which step you did wrong or if you didn't have the right pieces to start with? This method helps.

How can you make it more clear what items get used during what step? Can you create kits like this one for your own assembly operations?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Three Things at Once?

Kanban was invented for industrial applications, but in a recent column, Oliver Burkeman describes using it for any to-do list. Check out the column here:

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Clothespin Stop and Go Signs

clothespins make a great easy-to-spot sign. Using a permanent marker, color one side red and one side green (or white and black, etc). Clip the pin on a shelf, product, other other object with the desired direction facing out. When you need to flip the sign, turn the pin over and clip in the other direction.