Fort Lee's Fleet Maintenance Expansion unit in Virginia has introduced the 5S Program to gain efficiencies and promote a safer work environment.
U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Safety and Occupational Health Program Manager, Renee Beethem, introduced the 5S concept, which originated in Japan, to the FMX unit at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in 2017. Due to its success, Fort Lee's FMX Maintenance Manager, Jerry Jones, decided to use the program at Fort Lee.
Jones said, "The clean and organized working area allows techs to get the assigned task completed in a timely manner. The location of resources and equipment needed for the task are found in central locations and not all over the shop."
The 5S Program stands for: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. In simple terms it's about making sure maintenance professionals have at least the minimal equipment needed in the right place in a clean and safe environment with checklists that help easily identify issues to sustain their mission.
Elois Terry, TACOM's FMX Process Improvement Specialist, said, "Fort Lee's FMX maintainers avoided 878.5 hours of walking around looking for equipment and will save approximately $41,000 annually."
Not only did the program make things more efficient and save money, but it created a safer work environment as well.
Deputy Director Fort Lee FMX, Dave Ujczo, said the 5S Program has "all but eliminated tripping and falling hazards associated with moving thru the various maintenance shops and not seeing that ever elusive floor jack handle that hides in plain sight."
"Technicians feel better about a shop that is well organized and put together, it shows that employees at all levels have a vested interest in how their work place looks," said Director Fort Lee FMX Tony Brunson.