POUS – Point of Use Storage
In Lean circles, POUS – Point of Use Storage – is part of the 5S process of keeping an area orderly and maintained. Simply stated, it teaches to store things together where they will be used in order to increase efficiency and to reduce time wasted gathering or looking for needed items.
On a recent vacation to Costa Rica, our server brought us the ketchup and mustard in a small container. Stuck inside was a small scissors. I found it curious until I tried opening one of the small packets on my own. I surmised that other customers had similar difficulties and probably asked for help too. Eventually the restaurant decided to provide their customers with everything they needed right off the bat. What a great example of Point of Use Storage!
What areas of your office possess POUS potential?
• Copier – copy paper, toner cartridges, wipes/paper towels to clean up after toner installation, box cutters to open toner boxes, colored paper, labels, envelopes
• Coffee maker – Coffee, filters, mugs, sweeteners, jar for donations
• Office supply drawer or desk-top caddy – scissors, stapler, pens, pencil, paper clip, rubber bands, push pins, sticky notes
• Travel briefcase – business cards, extra charger for laptop, presentation remote, replacement battery for remote, pen, sticky notes, pad of paper, small amount of cash
On a personal level, here are a few areas of my home I’ve applied POUS:
• In the cabinet above our coffee maker, I store the coffee, coffee grinder, filters, and sweeteners. I also keep all beverage-related items such as mugs, tea and hot cocoa mix as well.
• In the past three years we’ve replaced our furnace, water heater, washer and dryer. I keep the manuals for these appliances in a self-adhesive vinyl pocket attached to each unit. Handy and available whenever they might be needed.
• Sprinkler system – in the garage, next to the control panel in another vinyl pocket, I keep the manual, schematic drawing of the sprinkler zones, the small tool used to adjust sprinkler heads, as well as a few flags to mark any trouble zones if and when a service call is required.
• When our kids were young and taking music lessons, they practiced in the living room. I kept a basket close by that contained a pencil, timer, metronome, and extra reeds.
The next time you find yourself searching for supplies to complete a project, ask yourself if there’s an opportunity to introduce Point of Use Storage. I’m guessing you’ll begin to find dozens of applications.