There's a reason why an excellent organizational policy is of great importance in workspaces such as the healthcare industry, electronics industry, and food industry. Without an efficient organizational policy, employees would waste precious time looking for tools. They may even find themselves in emergencies when having the tools close and easily accessible is very important.
Accidents can happen quickly if they can't find the tools they're looking for. Even if it doesn't come to that, having an extremely cluttered workspace will make it very challenging to work efficiently and be productive. So, what could be a solution for this kind of disorganization or lack of tool organization? Here's how a 5S strategy and an efficient shadow board in the workplace can help improve your productivity.
What is a 5S strategy?
5S is a highly innovative management system for organizing workplaces developed by Toyota. Its goal is to improve flow, eliminate waste, and reduce the number of processes. This system includes five principles:
Sort - refers to eliminating unnecessary materials, parts, and tools while keeping only the essential items
Set in order - includes arranging materials, tools, and parts to make them easily accessible
Shine - means cleaning all of the equipment and the workspace to maintain an efficient organization
Standardize - ensuring identity in workstations so that everyone is familiar with their responsibilities
Sustain - maintaining and reviewing the standards set by the previous four steps
What is the Shadow Board System?
As an efficient solution for tool control and management, a Shadow Board System is a technique that improves the overall organization of the workplace. It secures and organizes devices to allow easy and practical access and retrieval.
Essentially, these are storage boards used for supplies, various tools, and equipment used in manufacturing, production, and service work environments in different industries.
This kind of system aims to create an organized workspace where all pieces of equipment are efficiently grouped and stored.
The system uses marking as a way of grouping tools based on their type, size, and functionality. As such, shadow boards have many excellent workplace benefits that we'll discuss in detail a bit later.
2 Types of Shadow Boards
Two major types of Shadow Boards are Shadow Board and Shadow Foam.
Here are some of the main differences between these two types: the shadow boards are mainly in a vertical position, and they are made out of materials such as metal, wood, or acrylic frames.
When a tool is hung on the shadow board, an employee places their tag (either a number or their name). This helps other employees track the tool's location at any time.
A shadow foam, on the other hand, is made out of foam and is cut in the exact shape of the tool it holds. To be adequately protected, shadow foams are always covered with a full box. As such, shadow foams are used for storing and organizing more sensitive and expensive tools.
Crucial Elements of a Tool Shadow Board
One of the most efficient ways employers can boost productivity and reduce waste at work is by visually optimizing shadow boards for tools. These are the three most crucial elements for such shadow boards:
An ID tag makes it easy for everyone to identify, locate, and return the tools to where they are supposed to be. This labeling method also ensures a sustaining organizational system.
Even if an employee forgets where the tools are or don't even know their location, the answer is easy to find and visible to everyone.
By enhancing the visual standards of shadow boards, you can overcome the barriers to both written and verbal communication. With color codes, you will make the identification and grouping of your tools a lot easier. It's more efficient and saves your employees a lot of time.
Lastly, another great way to visualize this organizing method is to use tool outlining. Your employees can also forget the name or color code of the tool. However, with tool outlining, they can still locate and return tools to their right places.
What are the benefits of utilizing Shadow Boards in your workplace?
The following are the six most prominent benefits of using shadow boards to sort your work tools.
With the number of tags, lockout hasps and devices, padlocks, manufacturing tools, and other necessary pieces of equipment, it's easy for anyone to start misplacing them, losing them, and making a mess in any space.
Not only is it frustrating to have this kind of clutter around the working area, but this can also pose a great risk for industry hazards. Therefore, it's crucial to find a way to keep all of the tools and equipment in the right place.
The shadow board system for tools provides an organized way of making tools and equipment easy to locate and access. In addition, it is a systematic method of storing items that allow employees to know when specific devices are being used by someone else or are missing.
With efficient methods such as tagging and color coding, everyone can keep track of the tools and where they're supposed to be returned.
Standardization and Effective Visual Solutions
Visual solutions always tend to be better and more efficient for communication in workspaces.
One of the most significant advantages of shadow boards is that they overcome verbal and written communication barriers, thus providing a much quicker and more productive way of communicating through logo usage, name tags, visual instructions, and so on.
Without speaking a single word, an employee will immediately know where the tools are if they're being used and where they need to return them as soon as they look at the board.
By responding quickly to these visual messages, such as tool outlining or color coding, the employees can tackle their responsibilities more quickly and efficiently, boosting their productivity at work too.
Improved Employee Productivity
Speaking of which, productivity among employees can also be significantly improved with the help of shadow board systems.
Usually, cluttered tools and equipment tend to slow down manufacturing and production. As a result, employees may make easily preventable mistakes and cause accidents at work.
Especially when employees are in emergencies, they don't have extra time to look for tools.
Now, imagine if this happens daily. Imagine how much time the employees spend only looking for misplaced or lost tools. With a shadow board, this problem is easily fixed.
Cost-Efficiency and Easy Traceability
An assigned storage area lets your employees notice a missing tool. It also makes it a lot easier to locate specific devices.
Keeping track of all the tools is highly important because it saves time. As soon as a missing tool or a broken device is found, immediate repairs or replacements can be made.
Your employees can also keep track of the essential tools when they're being used and opt for backup solutions that the company should offer.
Not to mention how big of an advantage the shadow board provides in tool inventory. With a clear inventory of equipment and tools, you will reduce the unnecessary replacement and duplication of tools. In the long run, this saves the company a lot of money.
Another fantastic advantage of using shadow boards is the safety that comes with it. It promotes safety for both the employees and the tools. If the devices are not correctly stored in secured areas, they can harm the employees.
Firstly, the clutter created by unorganized storage can cause tripping hazards.
Secondly, due to not being able to find the right tools, employees may resort to using inappropriate tools or ones in good condition. This reduces the safety of your employees and can end up causing severe injuries.
On top of that, without a proper storage system, tools can easily get damaged as well.
On the other hand, if you choose to incorporate shadow boards in your workspaces, you can protect your employees and your equipment.
Just ensure you know how to properly set up the shadow boards for tools properly. They need to be adequately secured to ensure safety in the workspace.
In case you don't have any experience setting up this kind of storage system, you can always contact a top staff augmentation company and ask them to find you the experts who will take care of this task for you.
Lastly, secured storage space for the equipment will make the employees feel accountable for the tools they use daily.
They will be encouraged to take good care of the tools, clean them, and return them to their spots. This ensures that all tools are properly handled and safely stored away at the end of the work shift.
In conclusion, shadow boards for tools have many unique benefits.
If you introduce them to your workspace, you can expect a significant boost in productivity, strengthened accountability, amazing cost-efficiency, and an efficient storage system.
On top of that, you will be able to provide safety for your employees and the equipment.
Nicole Kelly is a Raleigh, North Carolina, US graphic designer, digital marketing consultant, and writer enthusiast. She loves writing about new business strategies, digital marketing, and social media trends for different blogs and DigitalStrategyOne.