Lean & 5's
***************** Inventory – Solutions to Causes
In the last newsletter we discussed some causes of inventory waste and possible solutions. Here are some causes and solutions:
Cause: The farmer just-in-case thinking. We hold on to returned parts and material just in case we might need it again. After all, it is already paid for! Since we have the room we feel storing it is not a cost.
***************** Inventory – Solutions to Causes
In our last newsletter we discussed causes of waste by keeping inventory. This and the next few issues will share some answers:
Cause: Poor quality work in the shop and in the field
Solution: This is an age-old challenge in construction. The solution is straightforward but not easy. To improve quality it starts with a clear definition of what is and is not quality work. It can’t be wishy – washy such as “I know it when I see it!” Once defined all workers need to understand the quality requirements and that they are expected to meet the requirements. Work handed to them that does not meet the requirements should be sent back for rework. The work that they perform should be reviewed by them to ensure quality before passing it on. At Toyota they say – Don’t get it – Don’t make it – Don’t send it, in terms of bad quality. To produce quality work one must be committed to doing it right the first time, measuring poor quality and implementing prevention countermeasures through root cause analysis. It all starts with supervision believing that defects can be eliminated and prevented, and not passed on.
***************** Inventory - Why? Why? Why?
Inventory is waste so why do we have so much of it in construction? When I talk about ‘inventory,’ I am not just including inventory of materials in the shop and on the accounting books, but the stashes and materials that are ‘job costed’ and not usually called inventory. I consider inventory to be any material not being installed regardless of where it is physically stored. Jim Womack (Lean Thinking) recently wrote about the three types of inventory:
***************** Last Planner applied in Chile
The Catholic University of Chile is spreading lean construction throughout Chile. Luis Alarcon tells how they are doing that and the results they are getting:
“The companies are responsible for implementing the new methodologies and for sharing the practices within the companies. In the last 2 - 3 years 77 projects have been done on a lean basis. PPC on companies’ first projects has been rising over these three years. The largest cause of PPC failure on projects where PPC was greater than 65% was “subcontractor delays”. As project teams get better at managing their own resources they reduce the impact of outside influences. The effort was started when the construction council made a request for the university to benchmark lean performance among seven companies. It took persuasion to get the companies to share.”
Lean & 5S' in Construction #6 September 2005
***************** Making 5S’s work
“Visual management of a workplace is foundational to lean. The intention is to be able to see at a glance that everything is going well or see what needs attention. When visual management is done well anyone visiting the location can make sense of what is going on. When I work in fabrication operations I routinely start with the 5S. It results in more space, easy-to-see workflow, and an all around safer work setting.
5S’s in Construction Newsletter #5 July 2005
***************** 5S’s in Hospitals
Before making the improvements, Shadyside ran a workshop for department staff members that simulated how to apply lean concepts in an industrial environment. “It was a nice way to mimic a manufacturing setting and to get people thinking of how the concepts apply to their work,” said Condel.
The workshop was followed by a 5S exercise to better organize the department and clear counter space so equipment could be rearranged into a cell containing embedding, cutting, heating, and staining in close proximity. CDI improvement specialists, department and PRHI staff, and hospital administrators stayed one night to reorganize the lab. Unneeded items were identified with red-tags and removed. Visual controls were used to arrange the remaining items in a neat and easy-to-use manner.
An immediate benefit was better inventory management. Even with a staff member spending eight hours each week checking inventory, which was stored in various locations, there had been over-stocking of some items and shortages of others. If someone failed to notice that an item, such as a chemical, was low, the department had to place expensive rush orders.
During the 5S house cleaning, staff members established dedicated storage areas, using labels and color-coding to identify the contents of each cupboard or drawer. Kanban cards with reordering information were attached to most items. When a reorder point is reached, the card is removed and hung on a board. Reordering now takes minutes a day. More important, the system virtually eliminated stock-outs and expensive rush orders while reducing inventory by 50% to 60%.
“It was rather exciting because many staff members were anxious to clean house but never had the opportunity,” said Condel. Enhancing the work environment helped to build staff support for the change process. The exercise also boosted management’s credibility. “We told the staff we were going to do it and we actually did it,” said Condel. “That had an impact by itself.” [Source LCI The Anatomy of Innovation – Shadyside Success Story.]
5S’s in Construction Newsletter #4 June 2005
The Fifth S – don’t leave it out!
For many 5S efforts, the 5th “S” is often the hardest. “Self discipline” means maintaining the gains that have come through the other 4S’s. It means implementing systems and methods to ensure that we keep doing the other 5S’s activities.
Consider what would happen to the 5S’s without self-discipline?
5S’s in Construction Newsletter #3 February 2005
I just received word that the New Horizons Foundation book Lean Production Principles is now published. This is a research paper on how Lean is being applied to construction. You can obtain a copy by contacting them at (703) 222-9001 or www.newhorizonsfoundation.org.
5S’s in Construction Newsletter #2 January 2005
************** Is it time to ‘Reshine?”
General Dynamics reports that periodically it is a good idea to revisit your 5S’s areas and reshine them. Sometimes, especially if one does not have a good self-discipline system aka audit process, things will drift back to where they were prior to doing the 5S’s. If this is the case for you, don’t give up or pull out all of your hair (some of us have so little anyway). Start again – do a Reshine Week and start over. Once done, then meet with your leaders and discuss how to prevent waste drifts.
The most common way to maintain the gain of 5S’s is to set-up 5S’s scoring criteria. Then, have someone walk the area and score against these criteria every month. The score should be yes/no with no partials. Either it is done or not done, 90% done is not done! Discuss the results with all employees so that everyone can see the good, bad & ugly. Many companies rotate who scores so that employees get the opportunity to learn (re-learn) how to apply the criteria. Graph the scores & post them so they are visible. Every so often – quarterly or semi annually have management score the area to get a new perspective on your progress and to remind managers what to look for. When the area scores a set level – have a celebration – bring in pizza and make a big deal out of it. If the area stays at a high level for so many consecutive months then have an annual celebration. Recognize good performance.
************* What to call this technique?
The most common term is the ‘5S’ or ‘5S’s’ but here are a few other terms that are generally the same tool:
5S’s in Construction
Best ideas – share
The 5S's program is a method to organize and manage a workplace in a way that eliminates hidden waste and enhances the use of the facility's space. Applying the 5S's streamlines processes, identifies tool and material requirements for various activities, facilitates a well-organized workplace, and assists in identifying unutilized materials and space.