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Using color as an indication of quality

laptop30767380.jpgFor many years companies have been turning to Six Sigma and lean manufacturing to reduce costs, eliminate waste, and improve the overall production of the facility. One way to help you control wastes and to organize the company better is to use color. Using color is simple as it is a visual control tool, the easily sends a message without needing 10-20 messages to be sent out to your employees.

Typically color is used as part of the 5 S Method. There are reference charts you can use to indicate color codes and have them point to quality. The 5 S Method has been used to improve safety, productivity, and quality throughout the entire organization.

Color coding that is used within manufacturing facilities is based on using specific standards for the company. You need to use consistency within the company when you label the different bins and other things that you are using to help send the correct message to your employees. Color coding is easy to use; here are some common methods to use for color coding:

  • Red bins or labels for defective products

  • Green bins or labels for products that pass quality control tests and are ready to be shipped out

  • Grey bins and labels to indicate storage areas

  • Blue bins and labels to indicate machines and equipment areas

  • Yellow labels for inventory

Use colors that make sense to you for the various areas within your manufacturing plant. Once you have your colors and labels sorted out, it will be much easier for you to focus on proper implementation of the 5 S Method within your plant.

Remember when you are creating the labels that the entire goal and purpose of the 5 S Method is to reduce or eliminate waste. It is designed to help organized the business to provide you with higher quality products and better production for your organization. Having a clean and organized workspace helps to improve employee morale and productivity and leads to a successful company.

One of the greatest aspects to the 5 S Method is that it requires very little investment to get started. Since you are using the color coding method with the 5 S Method you will need to invest a little bit to acquire the bins or labels, but it should be minimal. Then all you need to do is follow the different steps within the 5 S Method in order to properly implement it within your factory.

Getting started with the 5 S Method and color coding is usually easy but the 4th step of Standardize can be tricky for some companies. This is where the initial excitement pertaining to the 5 S Method have faded away and you are focused on putting the practices into place in order to run a successful company. You need to use the color coding system in the standardize step as it helps you stay focused on the overall concept of the 5 S Method.

Why is the color coding method so effective? It communicates a message in less than a second, which is faster than any other method used within Six Sigma or lean manufacturing. Color coding can be used in just about every department and it helps to keep employees organized and focused on the goals and their role within the company.

Color coding is one of the best ways to improve efficiency and to reduce or eliminate wastes from your facility. Given that it is one of the least expensive ways to organize a company and reduce overhead costs, you need to seriously consider using the 5 S Method with the color coding system.

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