How to manufacture a 5S program for your facility

Changing processes in a lean, consistent way can improve workflow, quality, attitudes, and safety, according to S&C Electric Co. experiences.


S&C Electric Co. implemented a 5S program to improve safety and lower costs. Robert M. Dempsey Jr., S&C Electric continuous improvement (CI) manager, helps implement a 5S program at the Chicago-based manufacturer of electric switchgear and related equipment. While different words have been applied to the concepts, the five used at S&C are sort, simplify, shine, standardize, and sustain.

"Safety is so important it always stands alone," Dempsey said, so asnot dilute safety with any 5S measurement. As S&C worked on safetyimprovements, however, lessons learned helped augment workflow,quality, and attendance as well, he suggested.

S&C Electric safety improves.

DART stands for the number of injuries per 100 employees that result in Days Away from work, Restrictions from doing the employee’s job, or having to be Transferred to a different job. DART is used by S&C, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and countries globally.

So where's the waste?
Here are a few things S&C found since beginning in 2003 for an estimated savings of $3 million (and probably an equal amount unmeasured), CI representatives said.
-95% of all lead time is non-value added. Most processes are less than 1% value added. Spend money on removing the non-value added steps.
-8 wastes: motion, transportation, over processing, inventory, rework, waiting, over production, and knowledge disconnect.
-Every second counts. Some forklifts moved 20 ft; others moved a mile. If 95% of the time a part needs one set of holes, why put 3 sets of holes in every part of that kind?
- Inventory: (as learned from Toyota) Make just enough to sell and have just enough (about 4 hours) to make. Having 4 additional days of materials on hand would require 5 more warehouses.
- Storage. 75 file cabinets and 27 tons of reports from 1965 were not needed.
- Buying the best machine tool then only using 40% of its capability isn't economical.

To shape the S&C 5S program, Dempsey and CI his team visitedToyota, Vermeer, Pella, Honda, Danaher, Batesville Casket, Steelcase,Herman Miller, and others.

Here's what Dempsey said he's learned along the way.
-A cultural change was needed to use lean principles to fix keychallenges. Idea was to shift management focus from existingorganizations, technologies, and assets to processes in theorganization, enhancing value and removing waste by looking inward notoutward.

- Waste is anything other than the minimum amount of time, material, people, space, and energy needed to add value to the product or service you're providing.
- Value is any activity that changes form, fit, or function of products or services you're providing. Keep asking, "Will the customer pay for the value you're creating?"
- Lean enterprise is an operating philosophy and system focused on elimination of waste to improve operational and financial performance across the organization, in manufacturing and administrative operations.
- Inconsistent processes yield inconsistent results while consistent processes deliver desired results.

S&C Electric

S&C Electric

S&C Electric
With a 38-year-old 1.1 million square ft, headquarters campus in Chicago, the company will celebrate 100th anniversary in 2011. The site, on 45 acres, includes 2,000 primary assets tracked and managed. In 2008, the company sold $500 million in products, including smart-grid automation, fuse products, and pad-mounted switch gear for utilities and industrial facilities.
S&C has engineering offices and manufacturing facilities in Chicago, IL; Franklin, WI; Alameda, CA; Duvall, WA; and Orlando, FL. S&C subsidiaries operate in Toronto, Canada; Curitiba, Brazil; Naucalpan and Aguascalientes, Mexico; Wales, U.K.; and Suzhou, China.

- Lean can be achieved as people use standard processes to get results.Don't be world-class firefighters. Working harder and longer doing thesame things the same way yields the same or declining results. Seek towork smarter not harder. Don't expect change by doing things the sameway.

- Practice continuous improvement, maintaining a passionate belief that there's always a simpler, better way.

Dempsey spoke at the CSCMP Annual Global Conference 2009 in September.

Read other MBT CSCMP coverage :

- Intel: Seven steps to a lower-cost supply chain ; and

- Manufacturers may find wisdom in Wal-Mart retail supply chain strategies .

S&C products include switching and protection for substations.

S&C products include switching and protection for substations.

- Mark T. Hoske, electronic products editor, Manufacturing Business Technology , MBT

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