The 5S Program
Has locating a tool or ink container become a time-consuming ‘treasure hunt’? Is the area around the press covered in spilled ink making it an unsightly danger for operators? These are just two of many examples of a cluttered, disorganised workplace that can result in waste and even injury.
The 5S Program concerns the reorganisation of the workplace, to create the conditions that enable waste to be eliminated or problems to be resolved as soon as they occur. Moreover, a company that implements this program has the kind of pristine premises that a customer would find a pleasure to tour – and is well-placed to work towards the ‘pit-stop’ scenario where makeready is just a matter of minutes.
The five elements are:
Remove all items in the ink room that are not used in the work area.
2. Set in order
Arrange all items so they can be found when needed within 30 seconds. Clean buckets for ink, rolls of labelstock, ink stocks should all be in their assigned places for easy, fast retrieval. Items most often used should be the most accessible.
Clean and inspect tools, equipment and surfaces, to discover problems as soon as they arise. Regular cleaning of ink chambers or containers will identify leakage and damage. Clean the equipment at the end of every shift and clean the ink room thoroughly each week.
Shine: viewing the ink room through the eyes of the visitor
Make an organised workplace an expectation. This requires leadership and clear communication with the workforce, to set best practice standards, so that everyone knows their responsibilities and appreciates the importance of meeting them.
Once the previous four ‘S’ procedures have been established, they must become habits. To prevent any ‘backsliding’ or gradual decline to the old ways, conduct regular audits to ensure continuous improvement, and create a culture of constantly looking for improvements.
Organizing the workplace with ink dispensing and proofing
An ink dispensing system and tabletop proofer improves the ink room and press area in many ways:
- There is less clutter – you just need a limited number of base inks, which the dispenser uses as ingredients to blend and provide the special colour shade. No need for small buckets of ready-mixed inks, taking up precious inventory space. Also, any inks returned from the press will be quickly reused in new recipes.
- With accompanying software, all ink stocks are logged and labelled for easy retrieval. At any time, you know how much you have of any ink, where it is – and for which job.
- A pristine workplace with minimal chance of spillage, leakage or splashing. Ink is automatically mixed in the exact quantity needed, from base containers via hoses to the dispensing head and into the bucket. No human contact needed and much reduced effort to sustain cleanliness!
- Ink dispensers, with software that uses digital colour targets, plus tabletop proofers that simulate the press set the standard for colour-making. The process becomes measurable, predictable and repeatable. It is a more reliable way of achieving accuracy, faster and with fewer resources. With user-friendly equipment and support from the systems provider, operators will feel motivated to adopt this new standard – and perhaps empowered to achieve higher targets!
In our next blog entry, we will look in detail at the third means of identifying waste in the converting factory, known as the ‘cost iceberg’.