Time To Replace Your Signs, Tags, and Labels?

shutterstock_148475807

When was the last time you checked on the appearance and effectiveness of the signs, tags, and labels in your facility? Wear and tear on these items can mean you’re not in compliance, even though you think you are. Old, worn-out products might also be endangering lives, if they’re no longer sufficiently communicating hazards. Utilize the following tips to determine which products need replacing and, while you’re at it, set a schedule for regular assessments going forward.

SIGNS

Not only are damaged or faded signs not communicating hazards properly, they are likely sending a message that your business does not care to emphasize safety. Keep replacement signs on hand and take old ones down as soon as they show signs of wear or damage.

You might want to consider Seton’s Duroshield Overlaminate, which resists grime, dirt, mildew, chemicals, and inclement weather. Another great option, especially in areas that have wet or dirty operations, is photoengraved metal signs.

Unfortunately, another common issue is theft. Vandal-proof hardware can prevent your signs from being stolen. Proper sign support is also critical in communicating your message effectively.

More often than not, it is cheaper to replace a badly damaged or unreadable sign than attempt many repairs in the field. Never take a damaged sign away and leave nothing in its place!

Labels & Tags

Labels and tags can be used for hazard warnings, valve identification, equipment instructions, accident prevention, asset security, and more. Wear and tear on these items can present many of the same hazards associated with signage. Labels and tags should be made of high performance, durable materials that can withstand harsh environments – both indoors and outdoors. Information should be communicated appropriately and legibly at all times.

Labeling of chemical containers is a particularly important consideration and full details can be found in section 10.41 on Replacing Labels in the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. If a chemical container’s original label must be replaced, the new label must contain the same information as the original. Only use labels, ink, and markings that are not soluble in the liquid content of the container.

Seton can customize any sign, tag, or label to your unique needs, and we also offer printers for quick, on-the-spot labeling needs. Don’t forget to check out our full line of safety products in the 2015 Seton Source Book, which will send in early January!

Security Lockdown: Deterring Theft

A gate with Keep Out signs

A few years ago, in a heist that sounds like it was based on a comic book,  2.7 million kilos of maple syrup was stolen from a Quebec warehouse. While this example might be amusing, the real-life financial implications of theft are not. Even if you don’t consider your facility a prime target for criminals, petty theft and incidental theft can quickly add up and eat into your bottom line.

The first step in securing your facility is to ensure that outsiders don’t have easy access to your workplace during off-hours. The mere presence of signs, chains, locks, and security cameras is enough to discourage most petty thieves. 

Custom-Anodized-Aluminum-NameplatesOnce you’ve secured your facility’s entrances, focus on labeling items and equipment within work areas. Labels not only help with identification and inventory, but can also deter workers who might be considering taking items home with them. Asset tags and nameplates work well for this purpose, and having two on larger pieces of equipment (one in plain view and the other hidden somewhere) is an excellent precaution against theft. If criminals are inexperienced they may miss the hidden label, making recovering the stolen goods easier. Even if they do find both labels, some labels leave markings on the device, which helps identify stolen goods.

Finally, ensure that your employees are well-trained and knowledgeable about policies and procedures regarding office equipment and confidentiality.  Aside from making them more efficient, this also prevents them from accidentally enabling criminals by providing insider information.

Choosing The Right Barcode For Your Asset ID Labels

barcodebanner

When choosing  an asset id label that lets you manage your assets more efficiently, barcoded asset id labels are the way to go. Barcodes allow you to retrieve information instantaneously all with the wave of a scanner. Not only that, if the information on your assets needs updating, you need only to change the information in your central database rather than on each asset tag.

What many people may not know is there are a number of different barcodes, each one more suitable to a particular application than another. Considering Seton’s line of barcoded asset id labels features three different barcode symbologies, knowledge of what differentiates one from the other will ensure you choose the best barcode for your needs. The three types of barcode options we offer are: Code 39, Code 128 and Code 2 of 5 Interleaved.

Code 39

Also known as Code 3 of 9 and USD-3, a Code 39 barcode is one of the first alpha-numeric barcodes and is still widely used in many industries and applications. In fact, Code 39 is the barcode standard for many government agencies including the Department of Defense. The character set for a Code 39 would include the letters A-Z in upper case, the digits 0-9 and these symbols: dollar sign ($), minus (-), percent (%), period (.), plus (+), forward slash (/) and a space, 43 characters all in all. This type of barcode does not require a checksum.

Barcode 39

An example of a Code 39 barcode.

A Code 39 barcode can be read by just about any scanner available on the market. And since this barcode is checksum optional, it’s easier to use. This barcode requires a lot of physical space to encode data. Consequently, very small goods cannot be labeled with a Code 39 barcode. Barcode 39 is ideal in retail and point-of-sale scanning (POS) applications, inventory control and also for monitoring smaller items like laptops, tools and handheld equipment.

Code 128

A Code 128 barcode can be used as either alpha-numeric or numeric only. Compared to Code 39, Code 128 has a higher selection of symbols to choose from and can be encoded with a higher density of information. Its character set includes the numbers 0-9 and the letters A-Z in both upper and lower case, as well as all the ASCII symbols, 106 characters all in all.  These symbols are usually organized into 3 subsets, namely A, B and C. Unlike Code 39, Code 128 requires a checksum.

code128scale

An example of a Code 128 barcode.

Because Code 128 can be encoded with a higher data density, this type of barcode can be used in more data-intensive applications like logistics for shipping, ordering, distribution and transportation, and in encoding coupons.

Bar Code 2 of 5 Interleaved

interleavedscale

An example of an Interleaved 2 of 5 barcode. The zero at the beginning of the number set was generated due to the odd number nature of the set.

Code 2 of 5 Interleaved is a high density, purely numerical barcode symbology. Similar to Code 39, Code 2 of 5 Interleaved doesn’t require a checksum. This barcode encodes numbers in pairs, so if a number set ends “oddly”, a zero must be added to the beginning of the set to even it out. Code 2 of 5 Interleaved is also unique in that information is also encoded in the white spaces of the barcode. Code 2 of 5 Interleaved barcodes are typically used in the warehouse industry as well as in libraries, wholesale and distribution applications.

###

Connect with Noel Dugenia on Google +

Choosing The Right Property ID Labels: An Overview

Property ID Labels

Whether an establishment provides services or manufactures products, it will need an effective system to keep track of its property and assets. This is crucial for security, for determining the value of physical assets, to maintain records, and to take note of any depreciation. To do this effectively, however, facilities will have to utilize asset and property id labels.

There are various labels and tags on the market today, designed to meet the specific needs of different establishments. Seton offers several asset tags that identify different sorts of items, and can remain functional even through extended product and shelf lives. In addition, a convenient application for customized labels is available online, allowing users to design labels that display company-specific wording and serial numbers.

As such, maximizing label functionality means choosing the best type for a given need. To accomplish this, several factors need to be considered. The following is a guide to help sort through and understand these considerations.

Bar Coded LabelsPurpose. When choosing which labels to use, one of the most important questions is the purpose the labels are to serve.  Asset tracking, for instance, generally requires high-quality bar code labels, which are designed for automated scanning and record-keeping. Seton carries several bar-coded asset tag options, in varying materials (such as paper and vinyl). Of course, non-barcoded variants are also available. Other labels are manufactured with sequential numbering and lettering for items that require consecutive ordering.

Blank Name Plates

Work Environment. Property labels and tags must be suited for the environment of the workplace, in order for them to withstand the potential hazards that are present in the area.

Will the labels be used indoors or out? Several labels designed for use outdoors are made to withstand exposure to the elements for up to three years. Will they be exposed to chemicals, or used in extreme temperatures? Certain types are made to resist chemical reactions, and are best for use in laboratories. Other labels can withstand temperature lows of -40 degrees, and highs of up to 93 degrees Celsius, making these types ideal f0r environments with extreme temperature fluctuations.

For industrial environments, label plates made of steel, brass and aluminum are recommended. Ideal for tools, heavy machinery, and other similar applications, these identification tags are made for extreme durability and long-lasting use.

Asset Labels

Asset Labels for curved surfaces

Adhesion. Another factor to consider is the surface which the labels are meant to adhere to. Different materials (such as polycarbonate, glass, powder-coated metal) as well as different characteristics (smooth, rough, curved, flat, etc) will require specific adhesive properties. Labels with thicker and/or stronger bonding adhesives are best used for irregular surfaces. Some variants forgo adhesives entirely and are manufactured with holes for mounting.

In relation to this, it is also important to determine whether the labels are meant to be permanent or removable. Labels made for permanent use should bond more aggressively than those that allow for re-positioning. Also, will the tags be applied manually or automatically? Again, different mounting options are available to meet different needs.

Carefully considering which label materials best meet a specific need in a given workplace is crucial in effective asset tracking. Using the right property id labels, along with other asset management supplies found on Seton, implementing and maintaining a management system can be done easily and efficiently. This in turn boosts a facility’s security, efficiency, and performance as a whole.

###

Connect with Marian Aldana on Google+.

The Different WHMIS Chemical Classifications

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada’s national workplace hazard communication standard. This legislation applies to all workers involved in manufacturing, or work with or are in proximity to controlled substances or products in their place of work. The WHMIS is a comprehensive plan that provides information on the safe use of hazardous materials. These safety information are delivered to the involved personnel by means of:

  • Cautionary labels found on the containers of controlled products
  • Providing material safety data sheets (MSDS) for each controlled product; and
  • Educating workers and providing site-specific training programs on hazardous substances

Exposure to hazardous substances can cause or contribute to various serious health issues such as dizziness, lung or kidney damage, cancer, sterility, burns, and rashes. Some hazardous materials are also safety hazards, and can cause fire or explosions. WHMIS was established to help prevent injuries, illnesses, deaths, medical costs, and fires caused by hazardous products. The end goal is to create a safer workplace by making sure you and your workers are knowledgeable about these hazards and have the proper tools to work safely.

WHMIS has established eight different classes to identify chemical hazards. Each class has a corresponding symbol for identification:

whmis_a (1)Class A (Compressed Gas)

Compressed gas is any gas placed under constant pressure or chilled, contained by a cylinder. A sudden release of high pressure can be deadly; it can puncture the skin and cause fatal embolism. Heat exposure can also cause it to explode. Leaking cylinders are also a danger because the gas that comes out may cause frostbite. Compressed gas includes carbon dioxide, oxygen, compressed air, ethylene, and welding gases. The hazard symbol is an image of a cylinder surrounded by a circle.

whmis_bClass B (Flammable and Combustible Material)

Any material that will burn, explode, or catch fire easily at normal temperature (below 37.8 °F) are considered flammable. Combustible materials must be heated first before they will ignite while reactive flammable materials are those that suddenly start burning when it touches air or water. Materials under this class can be solid, liquid or gas such as acetone, turpentine, ethanol, propane, butane, kerosene, spray paints, and varnish. The symbol for this is a flame with a line under it inside a circle.

whmis_cClass C (Oxidizing Material)

Oxygen is necessary for combustion. Oxidizers do not burn but can cause other materials that normally do not burn to suddenly catch fire by providing oxygen. They can be in the form of gases such as oxygen and ozone, liquids such as nitric acids and perchloric acid solutions, or solids such as sodium chlorite. The symbol for oxidizing materials is an “o” with flames on top of it inside a circle.

whmis_d1Class D – Division 1 (Poisonous & Infectious Material, Immediate Serious Toxic Effects)

Materials under this division are very poisonous and can cause immediate death or serious injury if inhaled, digested, absorbed, or injected into the body. Most Class D-1 materials will also cause long term effects. Some examples of D-1 materials include sodium cyanide, carbon monoxide, sulphuric acid, acrylonitrile, and 4-diisocyanate (TDI). The symbol is a skull and crossbones inside a circle.

whmis_d2Class D – Division 2 (Poisonous & Infectious Material, Other Toxic Effects)

These are poisonous materials as well but their effects are not as quick-acting and only temporary. Those that don’t have immediate effects may still have serious results such as cancer, liver or kidney damage, birth defects, or reproductive problems. Some of these materials include asbestos, mercury, benzene, acetone, and cadmium. The symbol for Class D-2 looks like a “T” with an exclamation point at the bottom inside a circle.

whmis_d3Class D – Division 3 (Poisonous & Infectious Material, Biohazardous Infectious Material)

These are toxins or organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, that can cause diseases in people or animal. Biohazardous infectious materials are usually found in hospitals, laboratories, healthcare facilities, veterinary practices, and research facilities. Any person handling specimens or samples in these environments should assume that they are contaminated and should treat them accordingly. Examples of these materials include Hepatitis B, AIDS/HIV virus, and salmonella. A Class D-3 symbol looks like three “c”s joined together with a small circle in the middle, all inside a circle.

whmis_eClass E (Corrosive Material)

Corrosive materials, such as acids and bases will burn eyes and skin on contact. It can also cause irreversible damage to human tissue such as the eye or lung. It will also attack clothes and other materials like metal. Common corrosive materials include sulphuric and nitric acids, ammonium hydroxide, and caustic soda. The symbol for Class E is an image of two test tubes pouring liquid on a bar and a hand inside a circle.

whmis_fClass F (Dangerously Reactive Material)

Materials under this class  are unstable, and may burn, explode or produce dangerous gases when mixed with incompatible materials. A Class F material manifests three different properties or abilities:

  1. It can react very strongly and quickly with water to make toxic gas;
  2. It will react with itself when it gets shocked, or if the temperature or pressure increase; and
  3. It can undergo polymerization, decomposition, or condensation.

Examples of this class include vinyl chloride, ethyl acetate, ethylene oxide, and picric acid. The symbol for this class is a picture of a test tube with sparks coming out of the tube surrounded by a letter “R” inside a circle.

A safe environment is important for everyone, and knowing how to properly handle hazardous materials in your facility is one way to achieve that. A thorough WHMIS education coupled with a strong PPE training program will help you in achieving a safe and efficient workplace.

###

Connect with Maria Marnelli G. Medina on Google+

Security Seals: First Defence Against Cargo Theft

revfin_600x250Cargo theft is a serious threat that is affecting a lot of Canadian industries. For the transportation industry, it is a $5 billion problem. In the Greater Toronto Area alone, over $500,000 worth of property disappears everyday. It’s alarming that this kind of theft occurs everywhere – in freight forwarding yards, carriers/ terminal lots, warehouses, truck stops, and even during transportation. This is why cargo security measures have become an essential part of doing business for many organizations today.

Safety seals are you first line of defence against thievery and damage of goods. A seal is a tamper-indicating device that is designed to leave non-erasable, unambiguous evidence if any unauthorized access happens. It can be made of steel, plastic, wire, or metal for varying degree of strength and security. There are also seals and ties that are ISO-compliant and can be customized for your own specific needs.

To find out which type of  security seal is the best fit for your kind of cargo and level of protection, read on below:

Indicative Seals

This is a good tool for alerting shipping receivers of tampering, theft or combinations of both. You can use them to lock containers and trailers. This type of seal works by showing a “blush mark” or a white stripe, among other proof of tampering, in the area that has been compromised.  Indicative seals include tamper-evident tapes, locks, and labels, which is further discussed in this article.

C-TPAT Seals

C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) seals are best used when time is of the essence. C-TPAT is a voluntary supply chain security program led by the U.S. that focuses on the security of companies’ supply chains with respect to terrorism. Any cargo that are sealed with C-TPAT seals are move through customs more quickly. C-TPAT seals meet or exceed ISO/PAS 17712 standards for High Security Seals.

Plastic Seals

For a simple and practical way to secure your goods, plastic seals are the better choice. Use this tamper-evident marker to seal and secure valves, bags, containers, and more. Most plastic seals are for one time use and are more flexible than steel or wire seals.350x450

Tie Markers

Prevent unauthorized access to equipment, tools, and packages with this type of seal. It works by leaving trace evidence when it has been tampered with. There are even tie markers with write-on tags where you can put in your own instructions and messages for better security and handling of your goods.

Adhesive Seals

This type protects your goods against alteration, tampering and counterfeiting during shipping. Adhesive seals usually feature the words “TAMPER RESISTANT” or “VOID IF SEAL IS BROKEN” on the label itself. Use this to seal chemical containers, electronic equipment, and other items in your office, warehouse, shipping area, or manufacturing facility.

ISO Compliant Seals

Protect your company assets and shipment from damages, theft and unauthorized access and still comply with ISO 17712 regulations. ISO seal includes plastic padlock seals and bolt type barrier seals, which are perfect for use on ISO containers, trucks, shipments, air cargo containers, doors, hatches, and hazmat containers.

Steel, Cable, Metal and Wire Seals

Use this for industrial and commercial items that require heavy-duty protection. This type of seal is available in durable steel, metal, and wire materials with varying thickness. As a general rule, the thicker the diameter of the seal, the stronger the seal is.

Padlock Seals

This tamper evident seal is a popular type of safety seal used today. This one-time use padlock is available in a variety of styles and features, including plastic padlocks, heavy-duty tamper resistant padlocks which needs to be cut or broken to remove the lock.

Custom Seals

If you can’t find the right seal for your need, don’t worry! Custom seals allows you to create your own security seal and ties. You can put your own wording, numbering, bar codes,  colour, material, and even size of your seal to meet your own security system standards.

Always remember that the strength and effectiveness of your security seals depends on the proper way of using them. These means that the procedures that your company employs for procurement, storage, removal, disposal, reporting, record keeping, installation, inspection, interpreting findings, and training are being met. So to get the most out of your safety seals, follow these protocols to the letter. Not only will it enable you to provide the much needed security against cargo theft and damages, it will also add to a positive bottom line in the end.

 

### Connect with Maria Marnelli G. Medina on Google+

Save Lives With Lockout/Tagout Tags and Labels

Lockout-tagout-body-image

There’s no room for error when it comes to dealing with electricity. It takes a shock of 6/1000 Amps to fatally electrocute a person, something that industrial machines can easily produce. It should come as no surprise that lockout programs have become one of the touchstones in electrical safety.

While a properly constructed lockout program ensures that every worker doing maintenance is protected and safe, it simply is not enough. Proper information about the hazards of the different devices must be effectively communicated to the workforce as well.

That’s where lockout tags and labels come in. Lockout tags and lockout labels provide that vital information at a glance and will keep information flowing to your workers as long as they’re within viewing distance.

Lockout Labels: The Point of Contact

While on-site training and basic instruction can do wonders for ensuring your workers are properly versed in safety procedure, reminders are always necessary. In fact, they’re often the law!

That’s why you should take advantage of lockout labels and use them as teaching and awareness tools especially where your people might be most at risk: while they’re working with electrical equipment and machinery.

Lockout labels can take many forms, from detailed instructions of lockout policy and procedure to hazard warnings and indications of lockout points or emergency shutdown controls. Be sure to choose the right label to suit the needs of your business and workers, so their point of contact remains safe and efficient.

Lockout Tags: Reminders of Work Done Right

Locking out equipment is only the first step in electrical safety. Your fellow workers – and occasionally safety inspectors – need to know the who, when, and why of a lockout. This is where lockout tags take the stage, where you put down the details you and others need when you lock out. That’s why lockout procedures are also known as “lockout/tagout”, since they involve the use of lockout tags in addition to the equipment.

Never skimp on safety, and never skimp on due diligence, which is a properly filled and attached lockout tag. Select your tags to match your needs, from simple write-in lockout tags for one-off occurrences to tags that double as photo IDs, telling your people just who locked out a machine and for what reason.

Prevention Through Proper Procedure

Electricity is a very powerful force, and proper procedure should always be kept in mind when dealing with it. Preventing accidents before it happens is everyone’s responsibility and the best way is by taking electrical safety seriously by employing lockout tags and labels.

Don’t forget to keep checking back here for more safety tips and tricks you can use for your facility.

###
Connect with Enrico Santos on Google+.

Improve Inventory Locations With Effective Labeling

Warehouse-body-image

Proper inventory management depends on knowing the best place to put inventory, and being able to easily locate it.  Far too many businesses deposit their inventory in places that are inadequately labeled, or lack clear means of identification. This is especially unfortunate since labeling inventory locations can be done quite easily, with a little proper planning and the use of labels.

Inventory Storage Areas: Knowing What Goes Where

Location names don’t need to be (and indeed should not be) complicated.  Planning out how to name inventory locations takes into account existing factors in the facility, such as physical structure, layout, and conventions that are already in use.  When coming up with the proper designation for inventory locations, here are a few general factors to consider:

  • Provide location names to as many physical spaces in the facility as possible, even those that are unoccupied or not in use.  In fact, whenever possible, every location in the establishment should be provided with proper labeling.
  • Make use of unique names or terms. No two locations should be referred to by the same terms.
  • Location labels should display the full name of the location, with arrows pointing in the direction of that area.

Group Locations Accordingly.  Inventory operations that involve large and/or several facilities would require adequate grouping or zoning conventions for quality control. Managing large or multiple storage areas will require dividing the location into smaller spaces, which will then be labeled accordingly.  These areas should be labeled in ascending numerical order, starting from the uppermost area going down to the lowest, moving from left to right.

It is key to match the labeling scheme with how inventory reports print out, with the data including both inventory locations and the items that need to be stored in those areas. With this scheme, individuals tasked with inventory checks and maintenance can perform their tasks in a single, orderly fashion.

Section Labels. Break down specific locations further into sections. Maintain a consistent method of designating these sections, to ensure that they can be located quickly and easily.

Detailed Location Names. It is a good practice to name locations within a section using numbers.  Again, follow an ascending numerical order starting at the highest location (the top most shelf, for instance), going down towards the floor.

Provide Clear, Easy-to-Read Labels.  Make sure to use labels that are easy to distinguish and identify.  Labels that don’t clearly state which location they’re referring to (no arrows when they are needed), or with poorly-printed letters (too small, do not contrast against backgrounds, etc) defeat the purpose of using of labels in the first place. Instead of simplifying day-to-day tasks, inadequate labels will slow down operations and cause shipping delays and errors.  These in turn will result in wasted time and effort as well as loss of revenue.

Locations in a facility should be properly designated and appropriately labeled. The potential cost of labeling is quite small compared to what can happen when items are lost as a result of mix-ups.  Using the proper labels for identifying inventory locations saves time, streamlines inventory management, and improves overall business procedures.

###
Connect with Marian Aldana on Google+.

Asset Id Labels: Your Assets’ Silent Protector

Asset Labels

 

Keeping track of company assets is no walk in the park. So much so that a variety of systems have been created to tackle the problem, from RFID (both active and passive) tracking to GPS asset tracking when dealing with items and devices around the world. While both have their place, we shouldn’t forget about one of the first and still one of the most effective ways of tracking company assets: Asset ID Labels.

Asset ID Labels are cost-effective

Asset Labels, while not as flashy as their GPS or RFID counterparts, are a lot cheaper. Sure, the tracking feature is definitely useful for certain organizations which routinely send some of their assets halfway around the world. However, if the furthest your assets travel is from the facility to a worksite, then why spend more than you need to? With asset ID labels, you save your company thousands of dollars and still end up with a viable method of keeping track of your assets.

Of course, your organization will need to keep track of the different assets via a log book where you can find the location of the item or who the item is assigned to. Each item will have a unique identifying number on it, or a bar code, so that in the event of an asset audit you can quickly and effectively check everything.

Asset ID Labels are easy to integrate into existing systems

It’s hard to get by without some form of asset tracking, be it via log books or a “check-out” method for procuring assets. The labels can easily be added into a variety of existing systems with minimal to no change to your existing workflow.

This makes it more convenient to implement and lowers employee resistance when deploying it to your site. This not only ensures a higher acceptance rate but also keeps your day-to-day operations uninterrupted.

Asset ID Labels prevent the loss of expensive, hard-to-replace equipment

Finally, we get down to the meat and bones of Asset ID Labels: preventing loss. With each asset properly labeled, we can reduce mix-ups as each item is clearly marked with the company’s logo which can help facilitate the return of misplaced items. In addition, it is easy to trace who is responsible for the item and who should be held accountable for it.

Another bonus of Asset ID Labels is that it prevents more unsavory characters from switching out company assets with lower-grade or cheaper items. In essence, these items are not only safe from loss but also from unauthorized replacement.

Inventory Tracking Made Easy With Asset ID Labels

All in all, asset ID labels can prove to be one of the best investments your company ever makes. Implementation and deployment are easy enough and the returns are huge. It will still take a little work to get the maximum benefits from having asset ID labels but trust us when we say that it’s worth it.

###
Connect with Enrico Santos on Google+.

5S Methodology in Warehouse Management

5s Red Tag SignNo one is sure exactly how the 5’s methodology began.  But in the 1970s, Japan’s premiere automotive company, Toyota, was notably the company that set the standard. Just like Sun Tzu’s the Art of War, the principles derived from the 5S methodology can be applied in many ways to achieve efficiency. Warehouse management is just one aspect of your business that could benefit from these principles.

Sort or Seiri – In organizing your workplace and home, the first thing to do is to sort. In home improvement, you separate stuff you need, stuff you can throw out, and stuff that can be donated or sold in a garage sale. In sorting your warehouse inventories and company assets, the same principle applies. Discard all the items that you no longer have any use for to clear valuable space for incoming materials or products in need of storage. Keep only what you need and set priorities through processes like FIFO (First In First Out) or LIFO (Last In First Out).

Tools you need:

  • Red Tags and Red Tag Boards – Systematically remove items in your warehouse with approval of the supervisor to ensure items discarded are reviewed.
  • Equipment Tags – Tag machines and equipment in need of repairs with status tags that indicate machines in need of repairs and those that are OK to use.

Streamline (aka Straighten or Stabilize) or Seiton – Streamlining or organizing the warehouse is probably the most challenging aspect of 5S. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You have to figure out how your warehouse processes flows and how you can eliminate waste in terms of time and resources.

Tools you need:

  • Warehouse Signs – Put up instructions and reminders to alert and guide workers in your warehouse.
  • Floor and Aisle Markers – Clearly marked areas and paths are essential in improving foot traffic. It eliminates confusion and workers will know exactly where they are and where they need to go.
  • Labels and Inventory Tags – Identify the content in each storage space to avoid wasting time looking for specific equipment or tools.

Shine or Seiso – Maintain good housekeeping in your warehouse. Leaks and spills should be taken care of immediately as these are unnecessary hazards that may cause slips and falls. It’s important to maintain cleanliness in the facility to be able to clearly evaluate where efficiency is lacking.

Tools you need:

  • Janitorial Supplies – Use heavy-duty industrial cleaning tools and supplies to save cost in the long run.
  • Spill Kits – Always have a professional spill kit ready. Choose the best spill kit that’s right for your workplace.

Standardize or Seiketsu – Consistency in implementing your new system is the key to improved efficiency. It’s essential to have a work manual that documents the standards implemented. Regular training sessions also help workers deal with not just the regular work but also how to react in situations like breakdown of equipment, chemical spills, and emergencies.

Tools you need:

  • Work Posters or Charts – A simple visual guide that summarizes the work flow. It could be used to locate where the different work areas and equipment are located.
  • Training Manuals and Videos – To set standard practices, new workers have to undergo training. Regular refreshers are also recommended for workers assigned to new tasks.

Sustain or Shitsuke – It’s easy to slip back to old habits without proper monitoring and evaluation. Conduct regular evaluation or even surprise inspections to make sure workers are following the new standards.

Be open to change when a new standard or policy is not working out. 5S, after all, is not about complacency but rather the continuous striving for perfection.

 

###
Connect with Annaliza Vasallo on Google+