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Lean Manufacturing Articles

STEP FIVE-VISUAL WORKPLACE

Step Five requires the establishment of a visual work­place that has an objective of eliminating waste associated with employees having to find information, tools, equipment, parts, fixtures, etc. The visual workplace is more than a brigade of brooms, buckets, posters, and signs. The information, tools, fixtures, and parts to com­plete an operation are located for quick and easy access to the point of need so that walking around searching for these is eliminated. "The men do not leave their work to get tools—new tools are brought to them." Pictorial quality and productivity improvement data are posted and updated immediately so that the factory and office personnel get timely feedback on internal and customer quality measures. Workmanship standards (digital pho­tographs of the part being processed) are posted at each workstation to communicate what is acceptable and what is non-conforming product, and the workstation's work content and quality verification requirements.

The visual workplace is an environment where vital information is available at the point of use. The maintenance of a spotless work environment where every­thing has a place and everything is in its place is an element of the visual workplace. This includes the re­quirement for a housekeeping standard for the office and factory, and the training of all employees in the standard and 5S process. The 5Ss include seiri (sort or organization), seiton (set in order or orderliness), seiso (shine or cleanliness), seiketsu (standardize or standardized cleanup), and shitsuke (sustain or discipline).

For example, a manufacturer of consumer products is intolerant of disorganization and confusion. Non-production-related materials have been eliminated from the factory floor, and material storage shelves have been removed so that problems are elevated and resolved instead of being hidden by inventories. Weekly "housekeeping" audits are conducted by hourly personnel in the office and factory to ensure housekeeping standards are met, and violations of the standard must corrected by the fol­lowing week.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 14


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