Research & Best Practices

5S: A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place


Your parts storeroom plays a bigger role in manufacturing optimization than you might think. 

An estimated 25% of American homeowners can’t fit their cars in their garages because they’re storing too much junk there. In many cases, this means vehicles that are worth thousands of dollars are parked outside—exposed to the elements—so that boxes of potentially worthless stuff can sit in the garage, protected from the weather while collecting dust. And if homeowners with cluttered garages store tools and supplies in the space designed to park the car, chances are they waste a lot of time and energy searching for those needle-nose pliers in the jumbled mess.

Unfortunately, a growing number of manufacturing facilities can rival a disorderly garage with one vital functional area: the parts storeroom. In this piece, we will explore how the “5S storeroom” approach can solve this problem.

In too many factories, the parts storeroom serves as a dumping ground and catch-all space, rather than an essential hub of efficient operations. A badly organized parts storeroom cuts into profits and productivity for a number of reasons. For one thing, it requires the maintenance team to hunt through boxes, shelves and drawers for parts, wasting their time and delaying needed repairs. Plus, a disorganized space can result in storeroom management personnel ordering duplicate supplies when someone can’t find an item and assume it is not in stock, or ordering and storing items that are actually no longer needed on the factory floor. And finally, of course, a cluttered parts storeroom can be a major safety hazard.

So what’s the answer? It lies in 5S management. Unlike the typical home garage, a factory parts storeroom likely has tens of thousands of items that need to be carefully cataloged and stored. To maximize efficiency, companies can use a storeroom management system that enables anyone to quickly find an item at any time. 

One of the best ways to tackle the task of storeroom organization is with the 5S methodology — a storeroom management system designed to help factory managers achieve an orderly workspace. The 5S storeroom methodology consists of five steps:

  • Sort
  • Straighten (or Set in Order)
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

When the 5S store management steps are implemented effectively, industrial maintenance storeroom management efficiencies can be increased by up to 30%, and companies can save thousands or even millions of dollars. 5S methodology in warehouse management also yields benefits in safety, maintenance turnaround time, equipment service life, etc.

To find out more about 5S storeroom management, check out our whitepaper, which gives an overview of what’s involved to establish a place for everything—with everything in its place.

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