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Continuing the momentum

12/14/2013 6:14:46 PM
Article by Alan Severance

Now that you have “installed” Lean and started using your Safety Committee and other employee forums to move it forward. What’s next? You cannot rest in one place if you expect to advance employee behavioral changes.

One way to use the previous initiative as a springboard for the next is to take the Safety Committee’s checklists and create a combined Safety and Five S checklist for every production line or warehouse or department. Some of the items will be on every list, such as end-of-day clean-up, supplies replenishment, or making sure that standpipes and fire extinguishers are clear of clutter and easily accessible. Other items will vary greatly: making sure lift trucks are checked prior to use; keeping product off of dock plates; conducting daily PM on the machines and assembly lines.

Creating these checklists is quicker and simpler than you think, even if you do not have a Safety Committee checklist to use as a starting point.

First, start a spread sheet listing everything that you want to have checked prior to daily start-up and everything that must be done prior to the conclusion of the shift. Keep the two parts of the list separate. List everything you can think of, regardless of whether it is for the entire shop or just one department or area or production line. Then make a grid using a separate column for each of these areas, departments, or production lines. Check each listed item in every column that requires it and then use copy, cut, and paste to create each unique checklist.

Add two columns in front of each question on the list, YES and NO, then make sure that you ask your questions in such a way that YES always the right answer and NO is always the wrong one. This is going to save you a lot of time in the next few weeks!

The most important behavior in this process is yours. When you make a checklist for others to use, the only way to reinforce the use is to address every item that received a down-check. You must take the time to see that they are being filled out correctly, that they are being taken seriously and not pencil-whipped, and that issues, whether Five S or Safety, are being addressed. And you can spot the issues right away if you have aligned the checklist YES’s and NO’s as I described. Your personal and immediate attention to the NO items signals both your workforce and your supervisors that this is important. When your supervisors take it as seriously as you do, you will have taken a major step forward. When your production teams take it as seriously as you do, you have embedded Safety and Five S at right level in your organization.

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