POUS – What is it and Why is it Important?
Point of Use Storage (POUS), also referred to as Point of Use Inventory, identifies what you need, how much you need, and where you need it. POUS is part of the Set-In Order Stage of 5S.
Implementing Point of Use Storage means the materials and tools that are being used on a regular basis will be the most easily accessible. This may seem obvious, but the reality is that it is often over looked.
Let’s face it, how often is time wasted looking for something that is needed to finish a task? How many tools and materials could be located just a bit more conveniently to greatly affect how efficiently work is done? More often than anyone would like to admit.
Inventory is considered the motherload of waste, especially the excess handling of it. Inventory is often handled a number of times before it is even touched to be worked on. Inventory is moved from one station for inspection, to another where it is stored, and then again when it is brought to where it will be used. Never mind storing inventory in a secondary location. Similarly, this same tired process can happen with Work in Progress (WIP). All of these steps are not necessary.
Groceries are not stored in garages even though their location is most often closer to the car when arriving home from the supermarket. Groceries are kept in kitchens, where they are readily available to prepare a meal. The same goes for materials in manufacturing.
By initiating POUS, new inventory will have a proper place directly in the work center. Allocating the correct amount of storage is key to maximizing the space available for each specific location. Shelves and bins are helpful in the organization of tools and materials, keeping in mind the variety of ways they can be fitted to different locations. Strong, clear labeling of different materials is important so all workers can access what they need without wasting time.
Ultimately POUS can work to create effective material handling which will decrease damage and waste. Improving operational effectiveness will lead to more efficient production, which means overall lower costs.
It is important to remember that every business has different needs. Different size businesses will be dealing with different staffing levels, different production levels, different machines and tools that are used regularly, and different locations all together. Value Stream Mapping is a great tool that can be used to cater to the specific needs of any business in executing POUS.
If you would like to know more about implementing this strategy, contact us here.