NOTE: This is part 2 of a series on proper work area organization

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- 6S applies to every part of our installation, including offices, shops, conference rooms, break rooms and even bathrooms.

Each S - Sort, Straighten, Scrub, Standardize, Sustain, Safety - is worked in sequential order, with the exception of safety, which is a key component in each S.

A good 6S process is essential to our continuous process improvement initiative.

Each S will be addressed in separate articles, in an attempt to better distinguish between each phase.

The first article, published in the June 11 TRACKS, dealt with sort.

Now let’s address the second step – Straighten.

Straighten is done after Sort to eliminate extra work organizing unneeded items.

The Sort phase is all about getting rid of the unneeded items.

Now that the area has been cleared of unnecessary items, it is time to find a new home for the items remaining.

We need to organize and put the needed items in their designated space. The old adage, a place for everything and everything in its place, describes the Straighten process perfectly.

We must keep in mind that each phase of the 6S process includes all supplies, parts, tools, dies, equipment, machinery, etc.

As we decide where the new home will be for our items, thought and consideration must be given to how frequently the items are used, the difficulty in moving them, where they will be used, security requirements, safety precautions, etc.

Items used on a daily basis need to be arranged so they may be easily accessed and quickly stored.

Heavy items need to be placed where they can be lifted without injury and, if necessary, lift capability exists.

Create an ergonomically friendly workplace.

The people doing the work must be completely involved in determining the proper location of items used to perform the work. After all, they have to work in, and live with, the process.

Once locations are determined and items are in their designated spot, each location needs to be identified in a visual manner. Everyone must know what goes where and how many of each item belong in each location.

Locations for consumable items should have minimum and maximum levels established.

The maximum level ensures too much of any item is not purchased, or collected, to create waste.

The minimum level is the reorder or replenishment signal. The minimum level must be created considering the amount of time it takes to obtain the replenishment.

There are multiple means to visually display the minimum and maximum levels. This can be accomplished with a line, tape, paint or other method on the container, bin or shelf. It can also be achieved by the number of locations or several other means.

While assistance from the Lean team is not required for 6S efforts, it is always available.

Call Ext. 7952 to arrange for support.

As always, I encourage each of you to actively provide ideas for improvement in your work area to your supervisor or a member of the Lean team and volunteer to serve on Lean events in your area.

Remember, let’s work smarter, not harder!