The five key components of the 5S methodology are sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. These steps can apply to nearly any area of a facility including workbenches, toolboxes, work cells, aisles, shelves, and much more. Here is how you can use 5S as a strategy to organize tools:
- Sort: Go through the tools in your toolbox or workspace and sort through the materials and tools, only keeping the essential items to complete tasks. It is important to remove unnecessary tools from the space in this step. Problems you during this process may be extra tools impeding workflow, wasted time when workers are looking for tools, a stockpile of unnecessary tools, or even safety hazards that a result of the clutter.
- Set in order: You will want to organize your tools in a logical manner. This could be setting tools with other like tools, placing hammers with mallets or placing wrenches with each other. Or this could be setting them according to the task at hand. A good rule of thumb is that if tools are used together, they should be stored together. You can also put frequently used tools closer to the worker, so it is easier to grab. Tools should be arranged in order of use for optimal organization.
- Shine: Clean up the area in which you are storing tools! Whether it’s mopping around the workspace or wiping down the toolbox, workers are more likely to keep the space organized when it is cleaned and well maintained. It is important in this step to plan how you will want the pegboard or toolbox organized and to map it out before cutting any shadow tape or foam.
- Standardize: Set standards for how tools should be returned to their proper place. Make sure employees know their responsibilities regarding tool organization, make it part of their daily routine to return tools to their home, and conduct periodic evaluations of the workspace.
- Sustain: Ensure the organization implemented in the toolbox or with pegboards is followed by workers. This could be through scheduling times to repeat specific 5S steps, or implementing reward systems.