Have you ever wandered around your shop desperately looking for a tool, or some glue, or even the work piece you just had in hand? I know I have. I’ve had those moments of, “I just saw X a few minutes ago, where did it go?” and have been frustrated by all the time I wasted looking for things around my shop. I’ve worked on getting organized a few times, done grand cleanings of my shop where I get everything put in a particular place, but these never really seem to stick. A few months ago I saw a video series by Steve Johnson, the Down to Earth Woodworker, about the organizational system he uses for his shop. Steve uses a modified version of the manufacturing principles known as 5S and his discussion of these principles really hit home with me. I’ve been building my shop toward those principles over the past few months but now I have an even better opportunity to learn from Steve.
This coming Sunday, Steve will be offering a class on his 5S principles at Highland Woodworking. Steve will be speaking about the various principles he incorporates in his shop, and how you can apply them to your own shop. I know I am certainly looking forward to learning from Steve. The 5S principles are intuitive enough that I feel I can follow them once I get them implemented and Steve’s instructions have always been very helpful.
The 5S principles are loosely based on a Japanese manufacturing strategy that many companies have adopted to improve workflow and time management. The principles are based on 5 words beginning with the letter S and designed to engender particular modes of behavior when you apply them to your workshop. The 5S’s are Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Straighten), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain). Applying these principles to your life in the workshop should provide more quality time within the shop. I know Steve’s video series on the 5S principles helped me somewhat and I am looking forward to learning and listening to his points directly during the class. It is my hope that by attending the class I can further refine my own use of the 5S principles and make my time in the shop more productive and valuable.
If you would like to join Steve in this Sunday”s Better Shop Organization seminar, there are still spaces available and you can sign up directly on the Highland Woodworking website by clicking HERE.
Matthew York has been a woodturner since 2004 and has been interested in woodworking since he was a teenager. He currently lives in downtown Atlanta and has a small shop in his basement. He is an avid woodworker and is always available to talk about the craft. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at fracturedturnings.com. You can also follow him on twitter at @raen425