Lean manufacturing is a production method that aims to minimize waste in industrial facilities. Lean and 5S Methodology work to streamline production processes, improve organization, and boost employee efficiency in manufacturing settings. Our Lean and 5S Supplies, including floor tape and visual cues, bring attention to workflow updates, support consistent processes, and improve methods throughout your facility. For success, continuous improvement and regular training opportunities are important steps in creating or improving Lean methodology.

What Are the Five Lean Principles?

1) Identify Value: This step aims to consider what the customer values and use the knowledge when manufacturing products, but also recognize which steps in the production process are most valuable and which aren’t meeting goals or providing a reasonable return.

2) Map the Value Stream: Looking at the manufacturing, storage, and shipping process, consider where waste exists—physical scraps and materials, as well as time and labor-related waste—and identify solutions to eliminate the excess and boost efficiency. This may be as simple as reducing packaging materials, which prevents unnecessary waste and may help speed up assembly time, necessary storage space, and shipping costs—or may involve more complex solutions.

3) Create Flow: Consider the facility’s organization methods and how the product gets from assembly to the warehouse—and look for areas where you can improve this process. Better organization can reduce production time, increase safety, and limit wasted materials, time, and effort.

4) Establish Pull: To prevent inventory waste, a pull-based system can be used to create a manufacturing system based on need, with little to no excess product in storage. This system produces deliverables when there’s demand, rather than over-stocking products and filling racks with excess inventory.

5) Seek Perfection: To reach ‘perfection,’ a facility must commit to continuous improvement—a familiar 5S Methodology goal. Regular process audits are key. When you are always looking for a better way to accomplish a task, you can waste less time and fewer materials. Perfection isn’t instantaneous: Incremental changes and small steps work toward a larger goal. In this case, efficiency and reduced waste.

The 5 Lean Principles guide industrial facility methods

How Does Floor Marking Tape Help in Lean Methodology?

Lean aims to reduce waste—both process-based materials loss and wasted employee effort. Visual cues, like floor marking tape and signage with clear text and easy-to-understand graphics, can help.

Our floor marking tapes are durable, apply quickly and easily to reduce work floor disruption, and can be replaced in sections as necessary rather than re-applying full-floor markings. When workflows and processes are updated, our tape removes without leaving residue behind, so new markings can be applied without shutting down for scraping, blasting, or other labor-intensive cleaning processes—and visual cues can be adjusted as often as necessary.

How to Use Floor Tape for Lean Methodology

Our floor marking tape lines—Superior Mark®, Last Mark™, and Econo Mark—prove useful in creating and maintaining Lean manufacturing processes. Additionally, floor signs and pre-cut shapes are visual communication tools that can be understood at a glance. Here are a few ways to use floor tape to improve Lean manufacturing processes in your facility.

A properly marked floor can improve LEAN methodology success

Create Workflow Reminders

While useful for training, these visual reminders keep long-term employees on track, too—especially in fast-paced areas or production floors where workflow may change often. Use floor tape, signs, footprints, or arrows to create visual reminders of each step in the production process. Include basic instructions via text and graphics, and work within implemented color standards in your visual cues.

Label Areas for Supply Organization

Floor tape is an easy tool for improving organization throughout the facility. While no two facilities have the same needs, consider using floor tape to:

  • Keep the clutter out of work areas by marking space for often-used items so employees are more likely to return items when finished with them.
  • Designate 5S Red Tag areas where broken items or tools that are no longer necessary are placed, then they may be repaired, discarded, or re-issued.
  • Mark border lines to indicate forklift parking zones.
  • Pair text and graphics on signs to assign storage space for scrap bins or portable tools and machinery. 

Create Visual Barriers

Physical barriers separate traffic, block dangerous zones, and keep workers and visitors safe, but visual barriers are also important to on-site safety. Floor marking tape and safety signage can be used to create clear visual cues for safety reminders and notices that may not require a railing, wall, or other barriers, or where physical barriers aren’t possible.

Organize Production Floors and Warehouses

In areas where lines aren’t necessary or damage may occur often, dots, dashes, and corner markers may be ideal. Improve organization throughout industrial facilities by marking spaces for storage and creating visual boundaries in assembly areas or work stations—dashes and corners need replacement less often when placed strategically to avoid scraping and dragging damage.

Improve Traffic Flow for Safety and Efficiency

Footprint- and arrow-shaped floor markings can help designate pedestrian foot traffic zones and make on-site navigation easier for new or temporary employees and visitors. Similarly, beveled-edge Superior Mark® floor tape is durable enough for use in warehouses. It can withstand dragged pallets and heavy vehicular traffic, and our freezer tape is tough enough to withstand extreme conditions at the loading dock, like 0-degree temperatures and exposure to the elements.

Improve Floor Marking Repair or Facilitate Workflow Updates

Use floor marking equipment to make regular updates to workspaces and repair damaged floor marking tape. An applicator cart, like our Superior Marker® Floor Tape Applicator Cart, prevents the need for bending and cutting—a hand-lever and foot-activated cutting blade make creating dashed lines quick and easy. The Kaizen Cart is the ideal all-in-one solution for long-term tape maintenance: It is designed to keep tape application materials, cleaning supplies, and repair tools in one place for easy access.

Lean processes work together to improve areas throughout the facility. Improving organization has an effect on both safety and efficiency. Streamlining processes helps reduce waste and can boost production. Looking at ergonomics can improve worker safety and reduce downtime or missed hours due to illness or injury. For more Lean and 5S tips, explore our Resource Center.