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The five factors of keeping an orderly factory

Packaging Unlimited, which does packaging services in Lincolnton, is cleaning up its workplace in order to help keep jobs in America.
The process is called “5S,” which was developed by the Japanese. It ensures a clean, orderly, safe and productive workplace.
The 5S’s stand for: Simplify, Straighten, Scrub, Stabilize and Sustain.
Keith Davis, General Manager said it allows employees to analyze their workplace and get rid of clutter.
“When the workplace is neat it allows for a safer more productive environment,” Davis said.
He also said it is more cost effective to get rid of items that employees are not using.
“We are seeing a lot of companies closing,” he said. “And today if you are not improving you are losing.”
The company started the process a year ago but the last six months it has really been implemented, he said.
The process was introduced to them from Danaher Tool Group, a company in Gastonia that work closely with Packaging Unlimited.
With their help, videos and reading materials, Davis said the idea really took off.
“It’s just constant continuos improvement,” he said.
Brad Tabor, Plant Manager said they have lost six tool boxes, one at each press since they began the process.
There has also been an elimination of other tools and spare parts.
Walking through the plant, walls are labeled where tools and paint should be placed. The paint has labels for exact colors so employees can find them efficiently.
“Our goal is to create a clean environment,” he said. “It has cut down set up time at the presses 36 percent since we started.”
The tools that are not being used have been stored away. Employees with the cleanest work area have been given prizes such as gift certificates and tool kits.
Davis said so far the process has really worked.
“I have been in the business 29 years,” he said. “Usually there is stuff everywhere.”
Davis said he sees this trend catching on soon in other companies.
“We need to develop ways to be better,” he said. “The ways we used to do it will not make it for the future, we need to be constantly improving.”
by Amy Wadsworth

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