Basic Equipment Care Webinar Series: 5S

Marshall Institute senior consultant Mark Jolley delivered a webinar for Trade Press media, the operators of facilitiesnet.com and maintenance solutions magazine titled "7-Steps to implementing basic equipment care". in the last post we covered the defect elimInation (hyperlink to previous post)

Today we'll cover 5S:

  • Sort
  • Set in Order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

Click the video image below to play the short recorded webinar snippet covering the main elements of 5S

Maintenance Fundamentals – The Basics Matter

In maintenance we are often looking for a single solution to a very complicated problem.   We hope that by implementing better technology, newer equipment, or newer improvement processes we can solve our maintenance issues.  On a positive note, more often that not we can probably save our money on the above equipment, technology and processes; however, there is no easy fix.  We frequently find that the most complicated problems arise from small, unobserved sources; these are the very elements that we tend to pay too little attention to because they are small or viewed as too basic. 

Let's use lubrication as an example.  Many organizations do not invest enough thought, skill, process, training, or execution follow-up into the basics of lubrication.  If you have ever tried to define how much grease to apply to one bearing grease fitting, you quickly gain an understanding of how unclear the fundamentals can be in a plant.  Worse yet, if we fail to define the basics, we risk high variation and lack of standardization in the process. Air Gauge on Wall

Lean Maintenance: 5S Your Maintenance Department

Lean principles and practices are synonymous with manufacturing today.  Despite the widespread adoption of Lean tools in manufacturing, it is surprising that they are rarely utilized by maintenance.  This is even more surprising when we (production) tend to ask the maintenance department for help implementing Lean in our production areas.  In a time when unnecessary costs and waste are being minimized and value maximized, the simple truth is that maintenance can benefit from the same Lean tools and principles.  

One of the fundamental Lean tools that can be adopted by maintenance is the 5S tool. The 5S’s are used to organize productions areas in order to operate and changeover our equipment in the most efficient way. The 5S’s are used to identify the hand tools, tooling, fixtures, etc in such a way that our operators can locate, use and return them quickly, easily, and efficiently. We remove all unused, unneeded, and obsolete items from the area then we arrange the remaining items in a neat, orderly fashion.  This organization also breeds a standard operating and care procedure; there is a higher likelihood that tools will be returned, cleaned and cared for in an efficiently run 5S environment.

Optimizing Maintenance through Lean Practices

Lean manufacturing has proven time and time again to be a powerful process for optimizing manufacturing in today’s competitive environment. Organizations are adopting Lean manufacturing practices today more than ever in hopes of improving their throughput, quality, and productivity.

Often times, we begin our Lean journey with a strategic focus on our product lines. We map our processes and eliminate waste by streamlining our changeovers and level loading tasks. We 5S our areas to ensure that we have the right tools in the right places at the right times. All of these efforts usually pay big dividends for our organizations.

A common mistake many organizations make is that we leave our maintenance departments out of our Lean implementations. We may expect them to participate in our Kaizen events, TPM workshops, and equipment improvement teams but we fail to look at our maintenance activities as value added processes that can be improved using the same Lean practices that we apply to our product flow lines.