YOUR NO. 1 PEACEKEEPING TOOL
AT THE WAREHOUSE AND AT HOME My tools are some of my most prized possessions, as are yours for many of you. This becomes clear when I’m at a trade show — every time someone spots our tool shadow board, they comment on how useful it would be in their garage. We pride ourselves on our tools and their organization. As a dad, this was also a source of conflict, especially when my kids were younger. I’d tell them not to play with my tools, but their curiosity won out. They’d take them from the detached garage, play with them, and misplace them. I’d find them in the car, in their rooms, in the basement, and in other random places throughout the house. It irritated the heck out of me, though I knew my kids were just following in my footsteps. I can remember doing the same thing with my dad’s tools as a kid. I’d use his tools and then leave them lying around — definitely not where I’d found them. This went over really well in a boisterous Italian household, as you can imagine. Calling on the best 5S equipment, I set up a tool shadow board in my garage to make it easy for my kids to return the tools they borrowed. The shadow board helped, but inevitably, my kids would forget to put a tool back on the board, and I’d find it laying around the house.
remind them how easy our system was. “Hey, I set the garage up so you’d always know where to put something back,” I’d explain. They got better at returning the tools to their places, but as weeks went by, they’d get lax again, and I’d start finding my tools around the house. Eventually, as a stop gap, I put a bin in our basement so that if my kids weren’t going to go put the tools in their spot in the garage, I could at least find them all in one place. The system worked better — they would more often than not put the tools in the bin. While it wasn’t in their exact spot, it was better than having to search for them. As they so often do, my kids taught me a humbling lesson when it came to my tools: there’s no magic solution for organization. Sure, tool shadow boards are an incredible tool, but they require follow-through. 5S doesn’t work by itself. It’s why the fifth ‘S,’ sustain, is so important — we have to recommit to the system every day, or it’s not going to work.
Even when you put standards in place, people aren’t always going to follow the system to a T. When I organized the garage and made it straightforward for the kids, they still needed to be reminded about it, and maybe I needed to adapt the system. Continuous improvement necessitates that we review and reevaluate our systems and processes when they’re not working. While a solution might seem clear cut, it’s often not until we implement it that we can see how well it actually works. This spring, I encourage you to look at some of your 5S practices. What’s working? What isn’t? Most importantly, where is there room for improvement? As always, if you get stuck along the way and could use guidance, we’re here for you. Give me a call. I’d be happy to help.
Until next month,
When that happened, I’d review the system with them, much like I would for a team member. I’d
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