5S in Inventory Control

August 23rd, 2011

I like 5S. It helps the organization to manage their physical inventories accurately and efficiently.

5S — origin from Japense’s tidiness culture:
Sei-ri – means organizing it
Sei-ton – means put it in order
Sei-so – means make it clean
Sei-ke-tsu – means tidy it and becomes a standard
Shi-tsu-ke – means make it as a habit to maintain the above good practices

It has been widely used in manufacturing process to improve quality and productivity. I apply it in inventory control as well especially at the store/warehouse.

Imagine we are at a store with over 5,000 bins storage capacity and over 1,000 types of item (SKU). If pallets of goods are not being keep in order according to their assigned bin No., it is really a disaster for the organization. The consequences are such:
– Inaccurate of stock information,
– Difficult to pick the right item/pallet timely
– FIFO/LIFO control — impossible — goods are over shelf life easily
– Low productivity — storekeepers are busy in searching for right items
– Excessive of unnecessary stocks
– Shortage of desired stocks etc.

With good practice of 5S in the store/warehouse , majority of above issues can be resolved. That’s why all good practiced companies are — tidy, organized, and productive.