Maintaining Organization in the Shop
Written By Steve King

With the New Year fast approaching, many of us will share the same resolution in our personal and professional lives: Get organized. For some, that means sifting through the pile of papers on our desk, or maybe cleaning out the garage. We can all agree that organization helps things run better, though–whether we’re talking about your household or your fab shop–which makes it such a common resolution.

As with all resolutions, our success with them depends on our commitment to them. Maintaining organization in the shop isn’t a one time proposition: clearing your desk or putting tools back into a corral once only provides you organization for so long. Practical organization– that is, an organizational system that leads to tangible benefits–entails more than keeping things clean and uncluttered. It’s the practice of setting up a process in the shop that accounts for all tasks that need to be done, establishing a structure that all workers adhere to from the start of the day through the end.

An organized shop boosts morale among the people working there. They can do their jobs in a safer, more productive manner because they know where to look for the next task or project order; they can readily find the documents, materials and tools needed to complete the job; and they know what they need to do when that job is done. The more your team knows about how to proceed–without being overseen by a supervisor–the more efficient your shop becomes. Your team members will feel more productive and job satisfaction will increase.

The first step on any path to improve organization is to assess your operation. Ask your employees what works and what doesn’t. Your team may have already devised a solution to a recurring problem, and all you need to do is review it, formalize it and document it. They’ll also understand issues they face regularly–likely better than you do–and they’ll be able to assist you in creating an organizational framework for their department and your company.

The key to creating a good template is to find the proper solution to an organizational problem. Don’t make the assumption you can do it alone; others in your company have opinions and expertise relating to the problems and their possible fixes. One of the worst things you can do is assume you know everything. Not only are you likely wrong in your assumption, but your unwillingness to get input from your team will later build a hurdle to implementing effective systems.

The next few weeks provide an opportunity to lay out your vision and your ideas for a new way to organize your shop to your team and to solicit input from them. Getting them onboard early will make the introduction of the new system easier, quicker and more satisfying.

For more ways to integrate materials management to improve cost and supply chain performance, contact eVolve Materials for an analysis of your needs

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