Can Tool Shadows Create Order and Teamwork?

can-tool-shadows-create-order-and-teamwork - 5S SUpply Blog

Too much Time wasted searching for items

Stan was the first shift supervisor and Kevin the second shift supervisor at a candy factory. Along with a myriad of other problems, they noticed that the operators spent an inordinate amount of time searching for brooms or brushes to clean the equipment that kept it from jamming or having any quality issues.

Tool Shadow Board Solves the Problem

broom_and_dustpan_shadows_w-lettering_125x125 - blogWalt, a lean and 5S champion asked if he could lend a hand, Stan and Kevin agreed since they couldn’t find a solution that they could agree on. Walt recommended that they put up some tool shadow boards in convenient locations for the operators and to color-code the cleaning tools – red for floor, and green for equipment that match the tool shadows.

Accountability Struggle

Stan and Kevin were okay with the idea except that they had a discussion that lasted almost an hour to decide what would happen if one of the items turned up missing. Neither one of them wanted to take responsibility for the other’s shift broom or brush if it wasn’t put back in the right location. Stan and Kevin’s solution was that they were going to store their shifts brooms and brushes in a locked closet and bring them out only for their shift. In the meantime, Walt suggested that they get the tool shadows boards up and labeled. Stan and Kevin never really came to a conclusion on how they would carry this out – taking the brooms out, putting them back each shift, every day so the same set of brooms and brushes were used.

Organization and Teamwork

What happened in the meantime? The operators would use the brooms and brushes and put them pack when they were done. No one had to tell them, they just did it because it was easy and it made sense. Stan and Kevin were shocked at the results and how everyone worked together! They didn’t need to have a separate set of brooms and brushes for each shift. The ones they had were adequate and did the job. They created order and organization all while the two shifts worked as a team making sure the items were placed back in their correct location before the next shift started. All because of something as easy as tool shadows.

Simple Solutions – Tool Shadow Boards and Tool Shadows

Modest ideas like tool shadow boards with color-coded tool shadows are a simple, low cost solution especially compared to the time wasted searching for items. Create a standard that everyone can follow. Save time, save money. Can Tool Shadows Create Order and Teamwork? Yes.

One thought on “Can Tool Shadows Create Order and Teamwork?

  1. Greg McCarthy says:

    Excellent overview Anthony,
    Tool shadow boards generate a sense of ownership of their stations within teams so that any continuous improvement going forward is encouraged from operators themselves

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