Floor Marking: A Valuable 5S Tool for the Workplace

5S is a widely known visual management tool that is used in many different work environments. Its methodology revolves around maximizing the rate of efficiency and profit in a process via organizational tools. There are numerous ways a company can make improvements to an already existing 5S program or implement this strategy into the innerworkings of their business. This can be anything from using the lockout-tagout method to creating policy manuals for employees. However, this post will focus mainly on the many ways floor marking tape and signs can become useful and necessary tools for your 5S visual portfolio.

5S stands for Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. These five main principles have a tight bond with floor marking materials, making floor marking and signage a helpful and necessary resource for spaces that need improvements regarding processes and safety measures.

  • Sort – A messy and disorganized facility, whether it be a fulfillment center or a machine shop, is terribly inefficient and can be dangerous in some situations. Yes, we are talking about some good old spring cleaning! Inefficiency in this case is used to refer to the amount of time it takes to find things needed to complete a task and you can’t do that when you’re constantly sifting through unnecessary material. Eliminating waste, whether that be time or objects, is a big proponent in this pillar of 5S. Try using a red tag area for this situation, it is usually marked with a red and white wall sign as well as red tape on the ground to designate a place for waste. If an object does not belong in a specific area you can move it to the taped red tag holding area for disposal.
  • Set in Order – This pillar of 5S is where the real sorting happens. Consistency is key here because this is where every object will assume a new place and go back to that same place after every use. Utilizing floor marking in these situations is a great opportunity because everything is thenceforth labeled and through repetition those objects and areas become much easier to find later. It can be anything from marking where trash cans reside to where chemical waste is stored.
  • Shine – This part of 5S relies on the employees to keep a clean workspace as well as maintain that cleanliness well into the future. Think of this step as marking where that cleaning supply goes! This can be done with floor marking tape and signage. If cleaning supplies is visibly marked, then it will theoretically be easy to find. This makes the frequent maintenance of facilities a breeze.
  • Standardize – Standardizing is something to keep in mind when signs and floor marking tapes are chosen as there are several guidelines to follow from OSHA as well as ANSI. In fact, OSHA has adopted ANSI Z535.1, ANSI’s safety color guideline, making it a requirement for all industries. These guidelines are great to use because if colors are kept constant within the building’s floor marking endeavors, there will be less risk involved in misinterpretation.
  • Sustain – This last facet of 5S is based upon keeping up with the mantra of increased efficiency and lack of waste for long term purposes. To achieve this, the employers and employees alike must all participate in each of the 5S principles. Sustaining the organized nature of a newly 5S remodeled workspace is also easier to accomplish if floor tape is used. Rubber based floor tape combined with an aggressive adhesive is meant to last for a long time without maintenance or replacement, unlike its paint counterpart that is constantly peeling away from heavy machinery traffic.

When outfitting a facility with the 5S process keep the end goal of efficiency in mind! When it is not attained, the overall profit in the end suffers from lost time which is still a form of waste.

Additional Resources