A Lean Transformation: Tool Organization

Organized Wrenches

Going Lean means implementing a culture of continuous improvement, and constantly try to identify and eliminate the 8 types of waste: defects, waiting time, extra motion, excess inventory, overproduction, extra processing, unnecessary transportation, and unutilized talents. It’s critical in Lean to evaluate all areas in a facility for waste, even less obvious ones. One area you could save time and resources by using the right tools is your toolbox. Often times a box or bucket of tools will lead to a messy, and ultimately inefficient, workspace. There are supplies designed to straighten up your tool area and get back that lost valuable production time; here a few to consider trying out:

Pegboards: Hanging up tools and storing them out in the open will allow employees to quickly grab what the need and replacing a bulky toolbox with wall storage is a great space saver. Different materials and different sizes gives you the options to set up a tool storage area suiting your facility perfect.  Employees will be able to quickly identify a tool’s “home” and will be able to find tools in just a few moments. Having your tools openly displayed will cut down the time of employees rummaging in a toolbox looking for a tool, and it will be easier to identify missing or misplaced tools at the end of a shift. Pegboards will ensure tools are stored properly while also helping to prevent and loss of tools. This can be a huge time saver if an employee doesn’t have to constantly track down tools.

Tool Outline Vinyl: Also called shadow board tape, this type of adhesive are custom cut shapes letting workers know the tool’s “home”. You can utilize this tape on pegboards, cabinets, drawers, toolboxes, and other consider using shadow board tape to create a guide for where the tools go. Set up a logical order to save even more time: store screwdrivers next to each other, have an area specifically for hammers, etc. You’ll eliminate waste of people trying to find the home of a specific tool and in the case of loss or theft, you will be able know exactly what type of tool is missing.

Tool Foam Organizer: Keep using your existing toolbox and give it an organizational makeover with customizable foam. Installing a foam organizer gives you the option to cut out specific shapes, choose contrasting colors to highlight missing tools, and more. Like the tool vinyl, identifying tools will be much easier, and the foam adds an extra layer of protection to fragile or expensive tools. This strategy, similar to the others, requires some assembly but the options really are endless.

Whatever option you decide to go with, all three are highly effective in improving efficiency. It’s important to remember to constantly evaluate the success of your efforts and continue to make improvements.

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