With roughly 20 people working in our sewing operations department, plus another 5 or so working in the manufacturing and warehouse area in non-sewing jobs (such as digital printing, shipping, receiving, and more), you can imagine how tricky it can get for our sewing department to keep track of essential tools so that those tools are readily available whenever needed.

As part of our ongoing plan for continuous improvement under lean manufacturing principles, recently Rick Garcia, head of Warehouse Operations, designed essential tools stations for our three sewing teams.  The three stations are color-coded (blue, red and purple), with each sewing team assigned a color, and where possible, the tools are also color-coded (Rick even painted clipboards, tape measures, and other tools the desired color!).  These sewing team tool stations include items like: sewing scissors, tape measures, chain pliers, calculators, pins, chalk, tieline, and more.

Here is an example of the Blue Team’s tool board:

Tools-Station

This has really improved efficiency in our sewing operations.  Now, whenever a member of a team needs one of these tools, he or she can go directly to the team’s tool board to get the tool (rather than hunt around the sewing area trying to find a tool).  When the team member finishes using the tool, he or she immediately returns it to its place on the tool board. As most of the tools are also color-coded, it is easy to ensure that each team’s tools are returned to the correct area.

Kudos to Rick for creating and implementing this seemingly simple, but out of the box, innovation for our sewing teams!