5S and Shadow Boards in Day-to-day Operations

5S is a management system or technique developed by Takashi Osada and Hirayoki Hirano during the 1990s to facilitate and maintain superior quality, productivity, a safe working environment, and generate less waste in an organization. The five 5S is derived from the five Japanese words – Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke. Each represents a pillar and are annotated with their Japanese names as follows:



5S Strategy and Shadow Boards:

Shadow boards are used for tool management and control, enabling owners with easy tool retrieval and usage. They are defined as a toolbox with specific, marked locations for each tool to readily identify a missing tool. Since shadow boards enable an organized workplace, the strategy is used as an activity under the “Seiton (set in order)” Pillar of 5S technique. Often Shadow boards are used as grouping tools to track availability and easy access. Shadow boards are used to nudge users to return shared tools to their storage place and ease the visual and from a distance recognition if the needed tool is available on the board or elsewhere.


Types of Shadow Boards:

Two tool control techniques are common in the Seiton strategy – Shadow boards or Shadow foam. Shadow boards are vertical, and the tools are hung to a pivot. On the other hand, shadow foam is made of control foam, cut precisely to the tool’s dimensions using CNC.


Shadow Boards:

Prepared on a wood, metal, or acrylic frames, shadow boards are painted with the exact dimensions of the tool using a legible color. A pivot is attached to the board to fix the tool. Tools are hung to the Shadow board, and when a tool is taken from the board, the missing space is covered with legible paint. An employee has to place his label (name or number) to the pivot for identification and to track the tool location.


Shadow Foams:

First developed for Aviation and Aircraft maintenance sectors, shadow foams are made by outlining the foam (often Control foams are used to prepare shadow foams), with the exact dimensions of the tool and removing the foam material to accommodate the tool. Shadow foams are covered with a robust box for portability and protection from the environment.

Though Shadow boards and foams are standard in workshops, these panels store less expensive tools that require minimum security and monitoring. On the other hand, Shadow foams are used for expensive and sensitive tools, requiring frequent calibration and continuous monitoring. Examples of tools used with shadow boards are spanners, wrenches, steel rulers, etc. Examples of tools used with Shadow foams are laser instruments, dial gauges, level indicators, etc.


Implementing the Shadow Board Technique:

Implementation of 5S is carried out in three phases:



Benefits of Implementing 5S – Why is 5S Essential for organizations?



Challenges in Implementing 5S and Shadow Boards:

There is a curious JIT axiom which says, “Good workshops develop beginning with the 5S’s. Bad workshops fall apart beginning with the 5S’s.” This implies that for implementing 5S, scrutinizingly studying the processes, establishing and maintaining 5S strategies are essential for organizations to reap benefits. Although the 5S methodology is one of the best-known strategies for day-to-day implementation, often it is considered a theoretical approach, and very little empirical evidence is available regarding its adoption, mainly due to the following reasons:



e2b calibration offers organizational training on the benefits and implementation of the 5S technique to all leadership levels and helps industries sustain and thrive. We are accredited and operated by a team of qualified experts to offer consultancy to various industries, and our verifiable services are unmatched across sectors. Contact e2b calibration for all your industrial needs.



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