Our Never Ending Quest for Higher Quality

You may never have heard of the contemporary business term “5S,” and ask yourself ,“what difference does 5S mean to me?”

5S has to do with something that Tri Tool takes very seriously –Quality. As a world recognized leader in portable machining equipment, Tri Tool has always been dedicated to the fundamental principle of quality manufacturing, and that has been crucial to our equipment’s unmatched reliability and precision.

Quality manufacturing doesn’t just happen. It is a guiding concept that must be continually monitored and refined. It’s in the pursuit of quality that we welcome, evaluate and incorporate business practices that have been proven successful around the world.

The term “5S” comes from the principles of lean production that has been pioneered by Japanese manufacturing companies. The 5S stands for: Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Straighten), Seiso (Scrub), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain).

Introduced by our QA manager, Marcus Langston, Tri Tool’s Quality Assurance department has successfully implemented the 5S concept to improve our efficiency of parts inspection and to maintain the highest standard possible for our product quality.

The following actions were taken to employ the new 5S concepts:

Seiri: The QA team cataloged and evaluated all of their tools including over 500 gages and quality inspection instruments to make sure all were in top notch working order.

Seiton: As the remaining inventory became easier to organize in a more efficient manner, tools were straightened out systematically, grouping tools more effectively and reducing the time required to look for them. They were then serialized and bar coded to aid in tracking calibrations and digital part inspection recording.
An important QA function is to keep track of the different types of parts we inspect (standard, special order, and custom engineered) and apply different inspection processes required for each. We organized part routing and staging with large, color-coded labels, giving special attention to parts that were due by tight deadlines, to ensure prompt delivery schedules.

Seiso: The ideal environment for part inspection is cleanliness and keeping the area free from dirt, dust, chips, and clutter. This guarantees that our equipment runs smoothly and helps to keep tight tolerance inspections accurate.

Seiketsu: Standardizing the digital tool inventory helps to schedule calibrations. Alerts are generated at 90 days, 30 days, and when calibration has expired. Many items can be calibrated in-house such as micrometers and plug gages. Others require an outside service to certify and maintain the accuracy of our tools.

Shitsuke: It’s important to sustain the previous 4 steps, and continually improve them. QA strives to find clear, simple, and standardized methods of organization and communication that can improve the rest of the part production process.

5S concepts have already helped with the efficiency of the QA department. Seiri and Seiton are generally considered to be the most important, often referred to as 2S. They require the most up-front effort, but also have the greatest rewards and facilitate the rest of the 5S program.

The short-term effort into creating and implementing 5S will have lasting benefits going forward. 5S is just one of many lean production principles that guarantee that our customers continue to receive the highest quality product possible.

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