The Five S of Lean
The first S focused on eliminating unnecessary items from warehousing.
Paperwork in warehousing is common but typically ineffective and should be eliminated.
Radio Frequency (RF) technology or pick to voice eliminate paperwork from warehousing.
Single button automated stretch warp machine should be installed to wrap pallets.
Warehouse Management Software should be configured with weights and measures (per item) to eliminate the need for scales and to allow auto calculation of weights and measures.
Walk paths need to be set up with no loop back during order picking to complete an order.
Products need to be placed strategically so that heavy products could be picked first and smaller lighter items picked last, in order to eliminate the need to re stack pallets.
Forklifts need to be able to operate anywhere in the warehouse.
Man up order pickers eliminate the need for ladders, and assist with order picking from level 2 and 3.
Set In Order (Seiton)
The second S focuses on efficient and effective storage methods.
A place for everything and everything in its place.
Racking should be erected in the warehouse to specification.
Wide aisles allow fast movement for picking and replenishment.
Bin locations should be set up to allow X and Y coordinates and for a standardised gird of locations in the warehouse.
All locations should be bar-coded and all aisles fitted with large visible signs, to enable quick and effective orientation on site.
Pick trolleys should have a place for a knife, calculator and a tape gun.
Packing bench should include cartons, tape and packaging material, all within arm's reach.
High speed printer should be used.
Standard label size should be used in the warehouse. Thus, when an order is completed and all cartons packed the store person can print all dispatch labels for the shipments.
The third S is to keep the warehouse clean.
All racking and benches should be fixed to the floor.
Product should not be allowed in the aisles.
Product should not be allowed into the pick face from bulk until all stretch wrap has been removed.
Pyramid picking should not allowed.
Cleaners should be engaged to service the warehouse office and all amenities.
Warehouse staff should clean floors daily with an electric sweeper. (Daily cleaning is part of the process.
A clean and clutter-free work area encourages staff to take pride in their work and environment and to take ownership of the equipment and facility.
A floor scrubber should also be engaged to remove ground-in dirt from the concrete floor as required.
The fourth S is standardising best practice in your warehouse.
RF units and PCs should be standardised. PCs should be selected based on ease of use and colour (black).
The following process should be established:
When orders are received they should update the Warehouse Management System automatically ready for picking.
Pickers select order pick and the system should direct them to the first pick location in the pick path needed for that order.
When the order is complete the invoice (or delivery note) prints in the warehouse and is attached to the order ready for dispatch.
Menus are specific for each function to assist staff with their functions. Pickers can see the pick menu, receiving the receipt menu and dispatch sees the information for dispatch.
Receiving requires items to be booked in and a pallet ID attached to all inbound items. This is then used for put-a-way, replenishment and picking, as items move around the warehouse.
Stock takes, cycle counting and returns to the client are all managed via the RF units and the pallet ID labels.
This is by far the most difficult S to implement and achieve. Human nature is to resist change and more than a few organisations have found themselves with a dirty, cluttered warehouse just a few months after attempting to implement 5S.
The tendency is to return to the status quo and the comfort zone of the 'old way' of doing things. Sustain focuses on defining a new status quo and standard of warehouse organisation.
Being a Lean implementation there is no old way of doing things. With the removal of paperwork and the need to use RF units to perform tasks in warehousing the status quo is the process.