There is an old expression that says there are three kinds of people.

  1. Those that make things happen.
  2. Those that let things happen.
  3. Those who wonder, “What the heck just happened?”

In the economic downturn of the past decade, many of us discovered that similar traits apply to manufacturing related businesses. At Wiley Metal, we were fortunate enough to not have been caught up in the “What the heck happened?” segment. Many of those companies are no longer around. We did learn that, perhaps, we were too much of a “let things happen” type of company. Since then, however, we have, and continue to position ourselves as a “make things happen” company.

We are currently going through ISO 9001 Certification and have recently implemented the use of Water Spiders in our Lean practices. We are conscientiously making proactive decisions to become a more efficient metal fabricating services company and to produce increasingly higher quality products for our clients. Adding to this efficiency, we are introducing the use of 5s Shadow Boards at Wiley Metal.

What is the 5s System?

The 5s system is a Japanese-based Lean process that helps companies become more efficient utilizing a documentable organization and cleanliness system. The system is based on five Japanese words:

  1. Seiri (tidiness)
  2. Seiton (orderliness)
  3. Seiso (cleanliness)
  4. Seiketsu (standardization)
  5. Shitsuke (discipline)

The English transaction of the words creating the 5s system are:

  • SORT: The first step in the 5s system is to go through each work area and declutter through cleaning, classifying, ownership, red-tagging, and identifying items to recycle or for reassignment.
  • SET IN ORDER: This is based on the principal that everything has its proper place and includes a system to identify that proper place through identification, labeling and mapping.
  • SHINE: This refers to keeping equipment and tools properly cleaned and maintained. This can help identify leaks, breaking equipment and tools and it can greatly improve safety. It also can help tools and equipment last longer.
  • STANDARDIZE: When systems are standardized it greatly improves efficiently. This is facilitated through color coding, posters, using common shapes and more. It replaces inefficient behavior with more standardized effective behaviors.
  • SUSTAIN: This refers to the documentation, training and review of the 5s System in order to keep it a fundamental part of a Lean company.

At Wiley Metal Fabrication, we make use of what we call 5s Shadow Boards.

What Are 5s Shadow Boards?

5s Shadow Boards are storage areas for tools that utilize the painted shapes (or shadows) of the items stored in the specific places where they are to be stored. This quickly allows for their return and neat storage. Shadow paint colors can indicate the type of tool they are. It also let’s you see when a tool is either in use or missing. Shadow Boards help in making yours a more visual workplace that creates a better sense of organization.

Because we do such a variety of work, Wiley Metal uses a wide variety of tools. We are finding Shadow Boxes extremely helpful in our quest of implementing our complete 5s System. It is a way we continue to be proactive in creating a more efficient environment, and in becoming more of a company that “make things happen.”