The 6S’s of Warehouse Maintenance

“Here at BIG Logistics, we are continuing the relentless pursuit to build the best 6S culture of anyone in the industry. Coupled with experienced, dedicated industry-savvy staff we are destined to be second to none.”

Travis White

The 6S's of Warehouse Maintenance

When you’re operating a warehouse, it’s always good to have a plan in place to make sure operations are efficient, organized, and most importantly safe! But how do you do that? Answer? 6S methodology. What is that exactly? Let’s take a look!

First developed and recognized as 5S, this mythology has now evolved to 6S, with the emphasis on Safety. While the true origin of 5S concepts seem to be up for argument, it is widely recognized to be first developed and implemented in Japan, officially being introduced in the 1970’s by Toyota.

True to its namesake, there are 6 key components that compile the 6S standard.

Sort. The basics of this is going through what is needed and what is not, getting rid of unnecessary items or clutter, and creating specified locations for tools and equipment. Taking that a step further, create categories and sorting criteria. Often organizations will use a red and yellow tag system. Red tags are intended for items approved for immediate disposal, while yellow tagged items can be stored away for later use. This can make it much easier for teammates to navigate their workspace safely and effectively.

Set. Simply put: “Everything has a home” Making sure there is a place for everything allows teammates to quickly find the tools and resources they will need through the workday. It is important to organize, arrange, and sort materials, equipment, and information in a logical way, with the goal to make tasks easier for teammates to complete. Once a task or jobs are completed all tools and resources are to be returned to their respective homes to be easily located when needed again.

Shine. Now that you have organized, keep all areas and equipment clean! Wipe the dust off the equipment and machinery, sweep the floors, make sure everything is in tip top shape for when work starts again. Cleaning the workplace and maintaining its appearance is a daily task. Establishing preventative measures, such as daily checklist, are vital to continually keeping your facility up to inspection standards and promote ongoing cleanliness with your team.

Standardize. Use the first three S’s by developing a 5S (or 6S in this case) checklist. Standardizing is a big part of this methodology. A good example would be to have labels up that have all the information needed for any container or machinery in the warehouse, to increase efficiency as well as doing the utmost to eliminate waste and unnecessary information or clutter. Maintain the ‘sort’, ‘set’, and ‘shine’ habitually, and this method will become the new standard for you and your warehouse.

“To maintain continuous improvement, you must standardize. Reemphasizing lean management with our team, particularly on 6S lean, not only helps our team to stabilize and standardize but additionally helps our teammates maintain efficient working environments and establishes a sustainable culture of safety.” — Dalton Zdunich. 

 Sustain. This stage is discipline, discipline, discipline, and often the most challenging step of 6S. A formal, rigorous review program to ensure that the benefits of the approach are maintained. If things need to be adjusted, do so in a way that is an advantage to the overall system. Make sure things are sustained within the methodology you’ve set in place and maintain it through constant discipline of the workplace. 

Safety. Safety in all things you do is of the utmost importance and the core of 6S methodology. Here at BIG Logistics, our teammates keep the wheels turning, we passionately care about their safety, as well as the safety of every individual that steps inside one of our facilities. As a logistics company, we deal with heavy machinery and cargo. We want to ensure that safety is at the top of the list every single day. We can’t stress enough; safety is our top priority.  

BIG Logistics wants to make sure that our teams have a first-class environment to work in. Following these 6S principles Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, Sustain, and Safety allows us to improve the quality of our services, maintain a clean work environment to enhance safety measures, and make sure teammates can perform their jobs safely and efficiently every day.

With BIG Logistics, you can rest assured that we will continue to sustain a safe work environment by executing 6S principles with a sharp eye and a big heart.

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