5S is a simple, practical and an effective way to eliminate unnecessary waste in your organisation. It is a systematic form of visual management using everything from floor tape to operations manuals. It stands for Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise and Sustain.
5S should be implemented in two stages. Firstly, eliminate waste and secondly, create a system where there is a place for everything and everything stays in its place. However, 5S is not just about tidying up the workplace. It is also about maximising efficiency and profit. In Lean, eliminating waste removes obstructions to flow of people, products, services, information or materials. When all of these elements are working together properly, businesses succeed and thrive.
In May 2019, Knut Klimmek took part in our Lean Business Tools programme in association with South Dublin Local Enterprise Office.
Knut started the Klimmek furniture business after studying design and graduating from the world renowned Parnham College in Dorset, England in 1986. They are a craft based workshop. This means that their cabinetmakers are traditionally trained and have the exceptional hand skills required to make finely detailed pieces of furniture.
In addition, the company uses modern technologies such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Machines (CAM) to allow them to process materials to extremely fine tolerances, quickly and efficiently.
The blend of traditional and modern skills is empowering and allows us to tackle projects that would often be beyond us.
5S Control System
Knut and his team identified an opportunity to put a control system in place to identify potential daily labour issues. This meant that corrections could be taken early in the process to minimise impact to a specific project and the overall business.
Through the Lean Business Tools programme, Knut and his team set about implementing 5S within Klimmek Furniture. In addition to 5S, they used visual management boards to provide key communication at a glance to all employees.
Visual Management Boards
These boards provided essential information to all staff members. They were:
Although it is a work in progress, everything now has a set location. A standardised job sheet has been formatted to show the different hours allocated to various processes. This ensures that information required to update the project board is readily available when a project is issued for production.Standard work practices/processes have been documented and updated with learning outcomes for specific projects.Knut and his team have put in place a control system so that staff take responsibility for their time and task management. Ownership by each individual of each task provides for a better project outcome.
Results to date have been impressive. During the Lean Business Tools programme, Klimmek Furniture increased their capacity by 20% and they also achieved savings of €25,000 pa.
Thanks again to Ed Flanagan and Steve Halpin for your input which has been invaluable. Your involvement in the mentoring sessions has also been key in getting the guys to buy into the process. It has allowed me to step back and give the team the space to voice opinions and make suggestions more freely.
The implementation of the new control system, which allows us to track budget over-runs on a daily basis, has been a key factor in the process of getting the team to understand and be involved in the daily process to reduce budget over and under runs. It’s an ongoing process to embed this new system and the project visual management board in the daily routine. But we have come a long way.
I strongly feel that once all the changes are fully embedded and in place, we will be in a much better position to expand our staff again and scale the business into the future. Knut Klimmek
You may be interested in applying Lean Thinking to improve workplace efficiency in your organisation.
Click here to contact the team at ETAC or enquire about our next Lean Business programme.