Plan Your Shadow Boards
The most important step of any 5S or organization project is sustainability. While a shadow board can be great in theory, it is only a solution if it is used constantly. Remove any barriers that may cause a shadow board to be forgotten or used improperly.
Involve Employees in Planning
Talk to the people that work in the areas where you are installing shadow boards. They will often have more insight into frequency of tool use and convenience than management. Set aside uninterrupted time to talk to the people that use the area or tooling most.
Ask Questions to Determine Design
Ask multiple employees the same few questions and note any trends. The goal of the shadow board is not just to create an organized work space, but also to make sure that people can easily find the tools they need to do their job.
Ask some of the following questions to determine the layout of your shadow board:
- What equipment do you use most frequently?
- Are certain tools often used together?
- Will tools be close enough to where you are performing the work?
- Are there any items don’t need to be in the work area?
Once you have a plan for your shadow board, you want to begin gathering materials. The key factors driving material decision-making is convenience, cost, or a combination of both. Companies that are creating shadow boards for an entire shop floor or warehouse require higher quantities of materials than what can normally be found in store. Smaller shops or companies that are creating three or less boards can typically find the items they need at most hardware or home improvement stores.
Before you put the shadow board into use, determine how employees need to use it. Will the board have enough of each tool for the people sharing? Is it in a central location? Ensure that there are enough commonly used items for everyone.
Measuring Shadow Board Results
Once the shadow board has been in use for a few weeks, determine the impact it has had on the work place. Ask the following questions:
- Are employees able to find the tools that need easily?
- Has time spent searching for tools decreased at all?
- Are tools in better condition?
- Is the shadow board making work more or less convenient?
If the results are not positive, investigate what barriers exist. The solution may be as simple as moving the shadow board location, installing a second board, or removing items that might block access.
Companies that display metrics sometimes take the extra step of measuring benefits. Time motion studies are often used to determine effectiveness. If a time motion study isn’t possible, ask employees. Does gathering tools take less time? Are there less repairs made on tools due to proper storage? Communicate positive results via message boards or during meetings.