Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where's the hammer?

"Hey, can you get me a hammer from the boat shed?" called my uncle.

"Sure. No problem," I said.

"Holly cow! I'll be in here for days!" I said to myself as I squeezed my way into the boat shed which serves as a shop and storage.

I recently took a few days mid-week to help build a 10x20 shed at the family cabin. I really enjoy the process of planning, and building, and of course, the food and comradery.

The purpose of the new shed was to house the boat, jet ski, lawn tools and other water craft so that my uncle could get into the boat shed near the cabin. Thinking back to last summer, I couldn't recall when we took the boat out of the shed and put it in water. It just sits there along with the another 10 footer out front. Do we really need the new shed?

I started mentally red tagging everything I could see that I knew hadn't moved in a year. Boat, wood scraps, duplicate tools. I'm thinking reduce inventory by 40% and we could get a lot of space back...

"Where's that hammer?"

"That's a good question. Little help," I called back.

We found the hammer and then some washers for lag screws.

"I didn't even know I had those, " my uncle said. "I've got stuff I don't even know I had. "

This situation is all too common whether at home or in a highly sophisticated technical or business environment. Applying visual control techniques could really help.

For our effort, I dug out all of the tools we needed and laid them out 3 feet from the job site so that we didn't have walk 65 feet for a tool and spend 20 minutes looking for it. Simple and effective.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shop visits

One of the goals of this blog is to branch out and see other workshops around my area. Sounds like Aaron and I will hook up in the next few months to photo his shop. Should be fun. I used to work with Aaron at a defunct bank. At one point, he was applying the 5S pillars to his workbench at home. If you have a workshop and want to post, love to have you aboard.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Workshop Budget

As of 03/27/08, I'm still tracking to budget.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Workshop - Shine

January, dead of winter, and I've just come in from the shop after a "Shine" activity to warm my hands up on the computer. I find myself performing store and shine and some detailed sort all at the same time in the loft. And sustain for that matter.

To help sustain the visual control in the loft, I decided to actually paint the loft as I have it on my future state diagram. Had my shop helper pick out the paint. Bright lime green, pumpkin orange, light blue and slate grey. I chose to paint rooms or areas to designate where things belonged instead of creating labels. Once the paint drys, I'll post some photos.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Workshop - Inventory Complete

Part of implementing visual control is knowing what you have. One of the prescribed methods for the Sort phase is to tag every item (Red Tagging). On each tag, data is recorded to describe, qualify and quantify the item.

I took a different route as you recall from my previous posts. Instead of tagging every item this round, I simply sorted into groups that matched my future state vision. I took this route because it didn’t make sense to red tag a pile and seemed like the quickest path for the task. If I were 5S-ing a wing of a manufacturing plant or a loan processing center, red tagging a machine or tool would make sense. Also, red tagging is a fun group activity that can build workplace camaraderie.

Next, I took inventory, recording every item into a spreadsheet. For each item, I recorded the following:

Quantity – number of like items
State or fitness (excellent, good, poor)
Season (Year around, spring, summer, fall, winter)
Last 5 years? – Has the item been used in the last 5 years (yes/no)
Duration – is this item used in the last 3 years, 2 years, past year, monthly
Frequency – how often in that span or duration the item is used in days.
Replacement Cost – the current cost of replacing the item
Decision – keep in loft, reuse elsewhere, eliminate the item
Comments – thoughts on the decision or process
New Location (Green, Blue, Orange room)

Not only did the spreadsheet help me see what I have, but also helped me decide what to keep and what not to keep. Quantifying and qualifying the items in terms of use, state and cost of repair are critical. Note to self: add “audit loft inventory” in project plan.

Thinking broadly, lots of companies have inventory systems. But it has been my experience that businesses often struggle to keep the inventory current and often rely on best guesses. Some of the root causes to this problem include organizational change, poor communication, lack of visual control, failure to sustain or lack of repeatable processes.

4-5 years ago when the financial sector was on a crazy pace, banks were opening branches in highly competitive markets and closing those branches that under performed. We discovered that all inventory from the closed branches for one particular bank went to storage and all new equipment was purchased for the new branches. Inventory ($) was growing rapidly with no stop in sight. Neither management nor the process leaders understood their inventory. I lead one day Kaizen event and two week implementation that redesigned the branch close and open processes. New branches now reused inventory from closed branches. The new process reduced inventory and provided a cost avoidance benefit of $1.6MIL over the next fiscal year.

Solving for these root causes can lead to personal satisfaction and a safer, more efficient workshop at home. In business, solving these root causes can save hard dollars.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Workshop Sort

The goal of Sort is to identify and remove all of the items not necessary for the work area. Based on the future state plan, we sorted in the the basic groups of bicycle gear, ski & camping gear, surfing gear, furniture(desk, shelves, etc). What wasn't in those groups fell into a decision pile -the stuff I didn't know what to do with. The temptation to just move the stuff from the loft. But that just moves the problem out of sight and for another day. Just making more work for myself. Not very efficient or lean.

To help deal with this pile I developed a few rules to help me decide. These will help me "sustain" the loft space going forward as well.
1) all automotive stuff (except for two GMC truck panels) shall live on the main floor of the shop
2) all wood working stuff shall live on the main floor of the shop
3) apply the 3Rs - reuse, recycle, reduce
4) apply critical thought to anything I haven't used in 5 years or will use in the next 6 months.

example: all of the galvanized metal parts have sat for 5 years. I don't forsee a need to use them in the next 6 months. took them to a recycle place.
example: kids picnic bench was saved to pull measurements from. Been up there 2 years. New kids picnic table was purchased last summer. don't need. chuck as wood is rotten.

Sort activity took a few weekends. But definitely felt great with each load to the dump or when I was able to recycle or reuse an item or move it to it's proper place. Pics coming.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Workshop - Safety issues status

Safety issues tackled:
1) no handrail up stairs - done. installed handrail.
2) no banister in loft - done. installed full length banister.
3) weak flooring in loft - done. installed new 1/2" sheeting across the entire loft floor.

Both tested and signed off by my workshop assistant.

Next up - lights (note placement and height of flood light on the pic on the left. perfect for branding foreheads ;))