For some time now, Lafert has benefitted from the creation of Team 5S and their role in making it easier and safer for each employee to carry out their work. In addition to the important benefits in the quality of the finished product, Team 5S was instrumental in acquiring ISO 45001 safety certification and 14001 environmental certification. What is Team 5S?
The 5S methodology
identifies five steps to optimize work and improve operational business performance. It was born from the Japanese tradition of eliminating all waste and aims to eliminate everything that is not strictly functional to the activity carried out by each individual person.
The term 5S contains the initials of the Western pronunciation of five Japanese words that identify the five steps of the methodology:
What has already been done?
- Seiri - separate: divide all the material that serves, from what is not functional to the activity and that can create disorder, which can result in wasted time or resources.
- Seiton - order: define a place for everything that is useful, respect the chosen location so that it is never lost, and prioritize the placement of what is used most so that it is more easily accessible.
- Seiso - clean: constantly keep the environment clean and tidy to avoid distractions from inefficiencies.
- Seiketsu - standardize: define repetitive activities and time dedicated to the reorganization of resources and workspaces.
- Shitsuke - maintain: make this practice become a daily way of thinking and acting for all business activities.
Areas of the production departments have been identified as pilot areas, in which the 5S Team has put this philosophy into practice. Here the workbenches have been rearranged by eliminating all unused tools, creating specific spaces for each object used daily and placing the tools used less frequently in specific containers to keep the workstations clear and tidy.
As a result, it was possible to make the passage corridors and emergency exits clear and accessible. The road markings have also been enhanced with the use of colored lights, so that the paths dedicated to the passage are immediately identifiable.
Defining a unique code of colors and labels was a fundamental activity in the identification of each object throughout the company. Each object, drawer, liquid, and material are indicated on colored labels and with identifying terminology to make it easier to position in the dedicated place and make them available to each colleague.
The separate collection has been profoundly modified by creating dedicated islands where each container is equipped with photographs and descriptions to identify the correct container. Hazardous substances are placed in defined containment areas where careful attention is paid to avoid any spillage into the environment.
In the pilot areas, bulletin boards dedicated to the 5S methodology have been created where the principles and results are shared through before/after images to show the improvements achieved. The staff is constantly trained on the behaviours valued throughout the company such as respecting people and things and on the importance of creating a meticulous separate waste collection. What are the next steps?
In the 5S methodology, improvement is constant and continuous, the commitment of all colleagues will be fundamental in maintaining the results and achieving future improvements.
With particular attention to the environmental theme, numerous projects will include further measures to contain harmful substances, the installation of new plants for water painting, and the completion of the new fully automated production plant.
In the coming months, the methodology will be extended to all the production departments and offices of Lafert S.P.A and progressively in the other companies within the group.