3. Create parallel activities. Sometimes multiple employees perform sanitation activities in parallel. The goal is to perform simultaneous activities throughout the process to prevent employees needing to wait for another employee to complete a task before starting another job. For example, if two assets require a hot temperature washdown and each asset takes one hour to wash down, it takes a total of two hours to wash down both assets. By installing another high-pressure hose, you could reduce the cycle time to one hour to wash down both assets.
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4. Reduce internal steps. This consists of improving the efficiency and execution of all internal tasks. Start by exploring the option of purchasing cleaning tools that will reduce labor efforts. Those may include handheld foamers and spray devices, foam tanks, foam carts, and cleaning carts to prevent employees from excessive walking to gather cleaning tools.
Centerlining is an excellent methodology for expediting setup time and achieving vertical start-ups. Parts color-coding and hard stops are another way to optimize setup times.
5. Reduce external steps. Similar to the reduction of internal steps, you’ll need to reduce external steps by moving all necessary items as close as possible to their location of use, ensuring all materials needed are available in sufficient quantity and appropriately stored (e.g., the 5S method, see sidebar below for more information), displaying setup kits on the machine or on tool boards or carts dedicated to the setup, and using a preparation checklist (to be included in the setup standard).
There is no limit to creativity when it comes to finding new ways to make internal and external steps more efficient.
6. Test and verify the new process. Once the new method is refined, it is now time to test, validate, and improve the new process. Start by observing the process once again. Make sure you have sequenced all tasks appropriately, adequately categorized internal and external activities, verified that all non-value activities have not been re-introduced, and most importantly, that you refine the process as you uncover additional opportunities for improvement.
7. Standardize the new process. Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, famously said, “Without standards, there can be no kaizen (continuous improvement).”
After the new process is established, develop standard work for each one of the tasks required. Standard work routines will ensure that the work is done the same way every time and will not only drive efficiency in the sanitation process, but also effectiveness to make sure the job is done right the first time. Standard work routines must include lock-out tag-out procedures, safety considerations, tools to be used, chemicals and cleaning materials, and steps to perform each task. Standard work routines must be as visual as possible. Pictures are a great method for visually depicting critical points.
After sanitation standard routines are developed, it is critical to ensure the workforce is appropriately trained. It is quite common to hear that standard operating procedures are in a binder somewhere in a cabinet collecting dust. There’s a lot of truth in the age-old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Standard work routines must be as visible and accessible as possible.
II. Implement a Sanitation Management System. Management consultant, educator, and author Peter Drucker, who contributed to the foundations of the modern business corporation, is credited with one of the most important quotes in business management: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Once the new sanitation process is implemented, you must measure its effectiveness to determine if you have reaped the benefits of your efforts.
Sanitation procedures should be treated like the large-scale downtime events that they are and as a practice that if not done correctly, will put public health at risk. Thus, a Sanitation Management Operating System (SMOS) should be installed. The SMOS is a closed-loop process that allows the team to plan, prepare, align, monitor/control, report, and improve sanitation cycles.