You’ve made it through the cold, winter months and spring is finally here. No doubt your facility and your workers have weathered some less than ideal conditions — maybe snow, maybe ice or maybe just cold and damp weather. Whatever Mother Nature had in store, it’s time to de-winterize your facility and get it in tip-top shape for the warmer months ahead. But how?
You may be familiar with the term lean manufacturing. The main goal of lean manufacturing is to remove waste from a facility and improve production processes. One tool often used to do this is called 5S.
Below we’ll cover some basic 5S steps that can help you get your facility in shape and ready to blow last year’s production numbers out of the water. Plus, you’ll keep OSHA happy by maintaining excellent General Environmental Controls required in CFR 1910.141.
Here are five spring cleaning tips to make sure your facility is operating safely and productively.
1. Clean out the clutter.
The first thing you need to do is Sort. Sort means to eliminate all items that are unnecessary to your production process.
Take a look around your facility. What do you see? Chances are things are a little less tidy than you would like. Cold temperatures and inclement conditions tend to keep people indoors. Workers often try to avoid leaving the warmth of their station when it’s cold. Regular housekeeping tasks, such as trash removal, organization and other chores often fall by the wayside, leaving you with a big mess.
Sorting out the clutter starts with a plan. Managers should assign people to declutter certain areas of garbage, personal items and waste. Accountability is key here, otherwise the mess will magically appear next week and the whole process will have to start over. So be sure everyone knows their role.
2. A place for everything and everything in its place.
Now that the junk and waste is out of the way it’s time to organize, or Set in Order. Take a look at your production flow and figure out where items need to go. The goal is efficiency, so be sure to put things like cleaning products, tools, garbage cans, first aid kits and janitorial supplies in a place your workers can get to them quickly and easily.
Highlight where these items belong when they aren’t in use; such as by using signs, labels or by color-coding them. Make sure PPE like fall protection, safety eyewear and other safety items have designated areas, too.
➤ Don't forget to focus on floors and walkways. Have snow and wet conditions destroyed flooring tape or traffic signs? Is there dirt or debris that could cause someone to trip and fall? In high traffic areas, this is probably likely. So be sure to check out these areas for cracks in the floors, poor lighting and visibility and lack of directional signals, so neither pedestrians nor equipment operators get hurt.
3. Break out the ol' elbow grease and get this place shining.
You should be getting pretty excited by now. The facility is cleared of junk and everything is where it belongs. All that clutter was probably hiding some major grease and grime. Now, it’s time for everyone to roll up their sleeves and get the facility nice and clean in the Shine step. Designate employees to specific areas that they are responsible for.
Industrial strength degreaser and janitorial supplies will make your job a whole lot easier. Wipe down walls behind equipment, clean machinery and scrub floors to remove built-up grime. Don’t forget after all that hard work your crew will need tough and gentle hand cleaners to wash up with.
Not only will the area become sparkling and fresh, but you’ll probably uncover some items in need of repair. Any production manager will tell you that if your tools and machinery aren’t properly maintained, you’re losing time and money in operational efficiency. This is the perfect opportunity to fix all that.
The other benefit from a clean and orderly workplace is that employees become more motivated, happier, healthier and tend to work more safely. And, that is a win-win all the way around.
4. Put it in writing.
You know the old saying “What gets measured, gets done.” Well, it’s the same premise with keeping your facility in top working order year-round. Once you identify some problem areas in your facility and decide on the best solutions, you’ll want to document this helpful information so all members of your team know what’s expected of them and when.
When you Standardize (the fourth step of 5S) your cleaning and organizing processes, there’s no confusion among shift changes or new employees. Keep process folders nearby that workers can review or better yet, use signage to help remind workers about their cleaning and maintenance duties.
5. Keep it clean and organized.
The final step in 5S is Sustain. Believe it or not, the toughest part of facility maintenance isn’t the days you clean, organize or work to improve efficiencies, it’s maintaining all that hard work for the long run. That’s why most facility managers find that making these housekeeping chores part of daily and weekly work will help keep things from returning to their previous state.
Create regular schedules and reminders for carpet cleaning, filter replacement and other general cleaning chores, so that all members of your team are on board and know what is expected of them. And, be sure to celebrate wins when areas remain clean and efficient. Workers are more likely to take ownership of their workspaces when their attempts are noticed.
Let's Get To It
There you have it. With a little spring cleaning your facility can be clean, organized and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. Cleaning and maintaining your space isn’t the most exciting thing to do, but when done regularly it’s not so overwhelming and time-consuming.
Be sure to stay tuned for our next blog, Must-Have Cleaning Equipment for Your Workplace, for helpful tips on the janitorial products and solutions that can keep your operations running smoothly.
If you’d like further help getting your facility ready for spring and summer, just give us a call or stop by. The team at Rocky Mountain Industrial Supply are here to help with the best products and service around. Contact us today by clicking here.