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5S Factory Reset: Step by Step

3 min read

5S sweepIn some situations, the factory tends to become unproductive, lacks efficiency and unorganized. This is a time for factory reset where there is a need to start afresh. The workplace may not need drastic changes; however, it is time to implement principal changes that will make a difference and restore productivity within the workplace adapting the 5S factory reset measures.

In order to reorganize your work area, the factory needs to have a 5s Factory Reset expert team with an experienced head and other dedicated members who are willing to initiate work task from scratch. A 5S Factory Reset will typically follow the same framework as the traditional 5S framework.

1) The first step to 5s Factory Reset is to sort out the bulk of goods. Most of the times, it becomes difficult to organize the work place due to the massive clutter in the factory and the junk occupies most of the place, making it hazardous to work in. To simplify the process, the team needs to start with sorting out the goods. The team should sit with the employees and sort out the goods that are wanted and unwanted. The unwanted items must be discarded, and a separate area must be arranged for all the required materials.

2) The second step is to set a suitable place for all the different types of goods. The team should follow some principle rules while arranging the goods. Together with the employees, they must find a suitable place and define places for the different types of goods. These items are arranged as per the needs of the different departments and various methods used for easy identification. Use labels, color coding, bar coding, drawers to neatly arrange all the items. Ensure that the workers follow the practice of returning the goods after use. In a factory setting, there are several items from bulky machines to small spare parts. Having a space for all types of goods makes it easy to organize and search for the items especially when in rush or during an emergency.

3) Often, the third step of 5s Factory Reset is neglected by many factories and it is the most essential to keep the factory safe, systematic and organized. This is the cleaning process where the team is involved in keeping the work place clean and tidy. The team requires to use all the cleaning material from detergents to mops, dusters and other cleaning materials. The workers are also involved in keeping the workplace tidy. For instance, the CEO does not wait all the time for the workers to clean the office. At times, the head does desk cleaning, arranging files in cabinets and other odd jobs.

4) The fourth step is to systemize the above three practices. This means, the expert team must regularly check that all the adapted changes are thoroughly practiced. Cleaning the departments on a regular basis, putting back the tools in the respective places and discarding unwanted items from every department is necessary to ensure that the workplace is following the reset practices. The team must coordinate with the employees and alert the workers if the items are unorganized. This is an essential practice of the 5s Factory Reset and if followed inefficiently, mishaps are likely to revert back.

5) The last step is to sustain all the practices and maintain the standards. Many factories often neglect or skip checking on this step. The 5s Factory Reset also includes taking feedback from the employees and discussing with them the changes implemented. Sometimes the changes might be unsuitable for the department. This requires the team to go back and brainstorm ideas that will make a difference and bring forth improvements in the factory.

The History of Kanban

2 min read

history of kanbanThe world-renowned carmaker Toyota began studying supermarkets in the 1940s. Supermarkets have a unique in-store system that uses in-store stocking techniques. Their system always provides for adequate amounts of products on the shelves without having to store excess amounts because customers know they can always return to the store for more.

Toyota believed that this same process could be applied to the factory floor. The demand for the product guided the ordering of products and their placement on the shelves. In 1953, Toyota began using this system of kanban in the machine shop of their main plant. The company’s leaders knew that the demand for materials would need to be “pulled” by downstream employees, so they developed a system to facilitate that process.

Kanban is a Japanese term meaning “visual signal” or “card” and is built upon the concept that improving communication is done through visual management. A kanban system utilizes cards or other visual cues to trigger an action in the manufacturing process. By using kanban cards, Toyota employees were able to move materials smoothly through the production process.

Although there were other manufacturing giants at this time, Toyota took things one step further. Under the direction of Taichii Ohno, the company also recognized the importance of listening to ideas from all employees. Kanban was officially introduced to Toyota’s main plant machine shop in 1953. In addition, they worked on ways to use their systems for a variety of products or for multiple products at the same time.

Soon the successes of Toyota led to the kanban process being used all over Japan. Once the quality of the system was apparent, it began to be used all over the world. By the 1980s, popular American companies like General Electric were using the Toyota system, although calling it by many different names, with much success. Over time, concepts of kanban have evolved for different workplaces but they can all be traced back to The four core principles to kanban:

1. Visualize work
2. Limit work-in-process
3. Focus on flow
4. Continuous improvement

Today, kanban systems can be found in many Lean organizations and manufacturing warehouses. Some facilities choose a card system, others a bin system, and with technology advances there are even electronic kanban systems. Kanban works to level production and avoid the waste of overproduction while promoting JIT manufacturing and making the production process more flexible. Aligning inventory levels with actual customer demand can keep your production line running smoothly and efficiently while eliminating a number of wastes.

The Concepts of Kaizen

3 min read

Kaizen is a philosophy, a methodology, and a way of mind. There are a number of tools and conceptskaizen utilizes to inspire the continuous mindset. Below are a few of our favorite.


In kaizen, management has two functions: maintenance and improvement. Setting standards and keeping them is an important part of kaizen. One of management’s primary roles is to maintain the technological and operating standards that have been put into place. They make sure that everyone performs their assigned tasks according to explicitly Kaizen concepts outlined standards and performs them on a daily basis.
Management’s other role is improvement. They must be constantly looking for ways to raise the current operating standards. This is an ongoing effort and must be a daily part of the manager’s job.

Process vs. Results

Process is the holy grail of kaizen. Managers often concentrate on results too much
and pay too little attention to the process. Kaizen will change that behavior. The kaizen manager realizes that improving the process will improve the result. This is why kaizen’s main focus is on the process.

PDCA Cycle

The PDCA cycle is a system used to ensure the continuation of the kaizen principles. It is a vital part of the process.

Plan refers to establishing a target and a strategy for improvement. This is a must. Without a target, how do you know if you have achieved success?

Do refers to the implementation of your plan.

Check is when you determine if your plan actually improved the process.

Act is the process of standardizing the improved procedure so that it can be continued and so that the problem will not return.

By following the PDCA cycle, you will ensure that your process improves and does not degrade.

Quality First:

Quality is always the highest priority in a kaizen system. But quality does not only refer to the finished product, it also refers to the processes and standards that create the product. It runs through all phases
of company activity: design, production, management, sales, and service. It is both the goal and the method of the production cycle.

Speak with Data

One of kaizen’s biggest strengths is that it solves problems. But in order for the model to work, you must gather relevant data that can be analyzed. Without this data you will be flying blind. You will never be able to tell what is working and what needs to be improved. Data is the lifeblood of the kaizen system.

The Next Process Is the Customer

Each product is made by a series of processes, one coming before the next. The kaizen model stresses the importance of quality in each stage of manufacturing. The worker responsible for each stage should never pass a defective part (or inaccurate information) to the next stage. This is what is meant by “the next process is the customer.” If every worker embraces this philosophy, the end result will be a dramatic drop in defective products.

Visual Management

Another major concept of kaizen is visual management. The opportunities for improvement may present themselves on a daily basis, but if you are not able to
see them, they will be missed. One of the primary methods used in kaizen is creating an environment where tools, supplies, and processes that are out of place or out of sync can be seen right away.
These are just a few concepts used to ensure kaizen is successful in the workplace. Many tools and strategies fall under the umbrella of kaizen and it is important to familiarize yourself with them. With so many tools at your disposal, you can ensure your kaizen efforts are successful.