The 5S system has been used for years by individuals and businesses alike to increase efficiency and move organizational projects along in a, well, organized fashion. Colored floor tape, another staple of a lean workplace, is also commonly used to assist with organization and safety. How about combining the two? Let’s take a look at how you can use floor tape to assist with a 5S project.
The first step in the 5S system is to sort. A common example used to illustrate each step of the system is the organization of a room, so let’s use that. In fact, we’ll go even more mainstream and look at 5S’ing a garage. The first thing you’re going to need to do is get everything out of the garage. Sorting involves taking everything from the space and sorting it into piles; your categories might be things to keep in the garage, things to donate to charity, things to throw in the trash, and things that you don’t immediately need but want to hold onto, so you’ll put out back in a shed. For each of these, you can make a tape box with a color associated with each one. This will help you easily toss items in one pile or another without having to memorize which is which or over-think your decisions by looking at which other items are in a pile as you prepare to put a new one in.
For the items you’re going to keep, you need to make orderly spaces for them to return to in the garage. Again, floor tape can be very helpful here: Outline on the floor where certain things will be (where you park a lawn mower, where a rolling toolbox should be returned to after use, etc). You can also put tape on your walls, depending on the material, indicating which tools will hang or be stored where – get creative here and develop a system that makes sense to you; also make use of color-coding.
Shining is where you clean your garage and make it a model home for all of your tools and items that were lucky enough to make the cut. Take your time here and vacuum, dust, and pick up until the place is literally shining! Remove any floor tape that isn’t going to be part of your permanent organizational system.
The standardization step of the 5S system is to basically make and write down a procedure to follow for the first three steps. This allows you to, if certain items become redundant or the space becomes crowded again, repeat the process painlessly. If you already have floor tape in place, this is made extremely easy because you already have your spaces for various item piles and for things to go mapped out on your floor and walls.
The sustaining step is both the easiest and the hardest: You don’t need to do anything right away to achieve it, but over time you’ll need to have the discipline to keep your system in place and running smoothly. Good luck!