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The Inside and the Outside

(August 2011) posted on Thu Jul 28, 2011

Cleaning up the physical appearance of your work environment.

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By Marty McGhie

Although these may seem like small items, maintaining a clean, nice exterior becomes a great expression of what type of business you are. By the way, if you don’t own your own building, avoid simply relying on the landlord to make your site look great. Landlords who are not tenants will always provide the very minimum necessary for the aesthetics of the building – so it will fall to you to ensure the exterior look of your business is impressive.

An inside job
Like the exterior of your business, the interior look of your shop can provide a lasting impression, for better or for worse. Many of you have studied the principles of lean manufacturing to assist you in developing more effective production processes. One of the concepts of lean is establishing the “5S” of your shop and work areas: Sort (eliminate unnecessary items); Set in order (careful storage); Shine (clean); Standardize (best practices); and Sustain (keep the new changes in place). The implementation of these concepts can be a goal that you strive for long term.

As you work toward establishing a 5S shop, however, there are some “in-between” steps and actions you can take to improve your company’s interior.

Begin by implementing a shop mentality that everything has its proper place. This means that every tool has a specific location where it is to be returned when it’s done being used and kept there until it’s used again. That includes hand tools, power tools, brooms, electrical cords, boxes, raw materials, goods in process, finished goods, and anything else that may be left lying around.