The 2nd of the 5 S’s – Set Limits & Locations

[tweetmeme]John and the 5S Pilot Team have just finished the Sort step and are ready to Set Limits and Locations. The just finished designating everything in their zone as needed, redundant, or not needed as part of Sort. The team will establish a specific location and will specify the quantity allowed for each item. They will have a place for everything and everything in its place. John’s team will also establish a visual factory in the process.

The 5S Pilot Team looks at how they classified each item to get the ball rolling. You can do the same:

1. Needed Daily: These are easy. Designate a place for them close to the point of use. Set limits with specified minimums and maximums for consumables (pens, wipes, packaging supplies, etc.). Use shadow boards for tools. Label locations so that it is obvious to the newest operator where everything belongs. It will also be clear if a needed item is missing. Paint lines on or label the floor to indicate where larger items like trash cans or stools belong. You can use thin electrical tape to show the location of smaller items at a workstation or on your desk.

2. Needed Frequently (Weekly, Biweekly, or Monthly): These will also be kept in or near this Zone. Designate a place to keep these items that is out-of-the-way but will be handy when needed. Use your judgement, you may want to keep items that are used at least monthly in the zone. You want to keep enough items in a remote location to keep the zone from being cluttered but you also don’t want to have to walk too far too often. The rule of thumb is to keep the frequently used items closest and less frequently used items further from the point of use.

3. Needed Infrequently: Find a remote storage location like the parts room to store these items. Be sure to store it in a way that they can be found when you need these items in 6 months!

Note that there are some items that cannot be kept on the production line in Food Processing Plants, no matter how often they are used. These items should be properly stored per your Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) policy.

4. Redundant: These items are needed but there are more than necessary kept on the production line. Examples might be 5 calculators when there are only 3 operators. Excessive pens, change-parts, cleaning supplies, etc. Return these parts to the parts room or supplies cabinet.

5. Not Needed by this team: Give these items back to the team that needs them.

6. Not Needed: These items are to be taken directly to the designated Red Tag area. Tag these items with a red tag. Don’t be afraid to red tag items. When in doubt, Sort it out! They will sit in the Red Tag area for 72 hours to give everyone the opportunity to let you know if you are about to throw something away that is needed elsewhere. This is a good step to take because your Pilot Team won’t know everything. Just make sure that you have a couple of the right people review the items. I’d suggest that a seasoned operator and mechanic both review the red tag area with you.

You should also be painting pedestrian walk ways and posting warning signs for fork lift traffic. You can use broken lines to indicate the entrances and exits. This is a great time to use floor marking to indicate any potential hazards like electrical cabinets or moving equipment. This is all part of establishing a visual factory.

John and the Pilot Team now have established limits and locations for every items in their zone. [tweetmeme]All locations are labeled so that anyone can see what belongs there and the desired quantity for each item. They have painted floor markings to indicate locations of larger items, walkways, and electrical hazards. Their tools are all on a shadow board and the change parts are stored neatly on a change over cart. John’s team is well on their way to a visual factory. Join them again tomorrow as they jump into the 3rd S-Shine and Sweep.


Look here for a great example of a Shadow Board. These three articles show 3 more great examples of a visual factory: floor markings, shadow board and locations on a shelf, and another shadow board.

See 5 Reasons for 5S or all 7 Steps to 5S. This 5s Audit Form is one I developed based on my 5S experience in Food Processing plants. Other forms are available if you do a google search on 5S Audit Forms. I would be pleased to e-mail a copy of mine to you if you request it in the comments below or contact me via twitter or LinkedIn.

Please leave a comment below if you liked this article. You can also connect on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, subscribe via e-mail (right side bar), retweet, digg, or stumble this article (also right sidebar). Your feedback is appreciated.

About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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4 Responses to The 2nd of the 5 S’s – Set Limits & Locations

  1. Pingback: Twitted by EvelynBrooks

  2. Great photo at top of page – is that building still in use?
    I enjoyed reading your post and I know there are ideas I can adapt to my own workspace. I tend to keep things next to my computer that I set down and haven’t gotten around to moving. They need to be sorted!

    • HI Evelyn,

      Thanks for you comments. I don’t believe that the cereal factory at the top is still in use. Apparently it’s an iconic building in New Zealand, at least in that town. They used to make a popular breakfast cereal there. I wanted to have food processing plants in my blog since most of my experience is in food plants. The wall paper is a shot of another old food factory. Desks can be hard to keep sorted but it’s easiest if you stay on top of it.

      All the best,

  3. Pingback: Twitted by SmallBizMuse

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