Supporting your 5S initiatives

How to effectively leverage mobile technology to improve 5S programs


5S Audit Tools
"The added capability of including visuals to exemplify the current state and current findings with a picture, date stamp and notes made the audit more credible and clearer on what they needed to do to improve. Especially with different employees working different shifts, it makes it more objective and there is less time spent negotiating the findings."

- Wendy Brucker
KHS USA, Inc.

5S audits, why do them?

The 5S system is a good starting point for all improvement efforts aiming to drive out waste from any work process, and ultimately improve a company’s bottom line by improving products and services, and lowering costs.

Implementing 5S techniques encourage a workplace that’s clean, uncluttered, safe, and organized. The 5S’s stand for 5 Japanese words that constitute good housekeeping. Roughly translated they are; sort (seiri), set in order (seiton), shine (seiso), standardize (seiketsu), and sustain (shitsuke). Some organizations are doing 6S audits including safety as the final S. With a successful 5S lean system in place people become empowered, engaged, and spirited.

5S audits can however become subjective and time consuming, effecting companies to lose sight of their initiative. Companies looking to find a better way to do 5S audits turn to Laubrass.

How one company improved their 5S lean program

KHS is one of the world’s leading companies providing innovative solutions for filling and packaging in the beverage, food, and non-food markets. The company is oriented towards clear-cut values: quality, customer orientation and innovative strength. As part of their continuous improvement efforts two of their manufacturing plants based in the USA recently initiated an innovative approach to streamlining their 5S audit process.

Challenge

"Our biggest problem was keeping the audit very objective” explains Wendy Brucker, continuous improvement process manager KHS USA, Inc. Her team performs 12-15 audits per month at each plant and being able to accurately portray what the issues were and then convey those issues to the team was becoming an arduous task.

"We needed a way to automate the process and to include the ability to easily add pictures. The auditors were taking pictures and performing their written audits by hand, however the process was labor intensive. There was a great deal of administrative work; when you have 14 audits to do every month it takes up a lot of NVA time.”

Brucker and her team looked for 5S solutions and found some on the market but many had too many bells and whistles at a price point that was not in their budget. An internal solution did not seem feasible or cost effective. Laubrass offered a custom audit program, UMT Audit®, –which met all of their needs at a great value.

Solution

At each of the KHS USA plants, tablets are equipped with UMT Audit software. Three people within each facility, including production managers, industrial engineers and product supervisors, are trained to conduct audits. Their 5S audits are done every other month on a rotating schedule per 5S zone. This works out to about 1 audit per week.

Audits are performed easily on tablets by choosing from designated answers to four questions for each of the five “S” categories, notes can be added and photos directly included with time stamps. Auditors can also select to deduct up to three points for any safety concern or any recurring finding.

Once the audits are complete, reports are instantly available and posted on team boards and notifications are immediately sent via email to designated employees. Each department has a six-week window to work on the findings from the previous audit. “The audits, including photos with accurate notes and time stamps, provide a clean-cut punch list for the people receiving the audits so they can more easily begin corrective actions.”

Results

Using UMT Audit is saving time during the 5S audit process, both for the management teams performing the audits, and for the teams reviewing the audit results.

“It is very quick to release reports there is no delay or lag time in formatting. Once you've done your walk through you are pretty much done. You just need to sign it and add comments. Before we did the audit by long hand, we needed to re-enter data and add pictures, there was a delay. Now the reporting is real time, that's a bonus.”

Not only are the 5S audit results more accessible, these reports are also more standardized and objective.

“The added capability of including visuals to exemplify the current state and current findings with a picture, date stamp and notes made the audit more credible and clearer on what they needed to do to improve. Especially with different employees working different shifts, it makes it more objective and there is less time spent negotiating the findings.”

Along with the reports, corrective action notifications are also sent automatically by email to designated employees within selected zones. The emails detail the non-conforming findings including photos, dates, and comments. The email can be shared to enable the team to efficiently work together to get any impeding findings resolved. Keeping everyone in the loop is easier too, the lead can easily send a reply to management to describe the actions that will be taken.

“Having that closed loop with the email notification is important, it really makes the entire process more efficient.”

Asked if she would recommend UMT Audit to other businesses Brucker declares that she already is showing off the solutions to guests touring their plant. Furthermore, she is hoping to extend the use of UMT Audit for other types of audits and inspections within the company.

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