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Custom tool Shadow boards are one element of 5S. Manufacturing is famous for different ideas on improvement. Lean, 5S, Kaizen, Six Sigma and more have become common practice in the manufacturing space. For those of you who are not familiar with 5S, this system refers to sort, set in order, shine, standardise, and sustain. How does a shadow board relate to 5S? It helps you visualise your waste, sort your tools, standardise your training, and keep organised. Let’s discuss how a shadow board can help your organisation.


The first noticeable benefit of tool shadow boards is that it is easy to see. This means that training is simplified. Getting new employees on board is often a challenge. With a custom tool shadow boards, the organisational system is explained visually. People respond to pictures faster than words on a label. Employees also respond quicker if their brain associates a colour on the shadow board with a tool. This is great for new employees, who are learning new processes. It also works great with a multilingual workforce.


Organisation systems remain vital to keeping your operation running. If an employee has to search for a missing tool, that takes time away from manufacturing processes. As we all know, time is money! With a shadow board, it is clear if someone is using a tool. At the end of the day, a blank spot on the board is a clear reminder that a tool is missing. A lack of organisation can cause a company to spend more on equipment than is really necessary. Reduce duplication of tools by creating a clear inventory. A shadow board will ensure that you keep track of items and eliminate money waste.

Part of lean manufacturing is having the right equipment and replacement parts. Tracking of critical parts ensures that manufacturing can continue if a breakdown occurs. With a shadow board, you can store replacement parts efficiently. If an employee uses one of the parts, it is obvious that another part needs to be ordered. This helps with accounting, but it helps track documentation for regulatory purposes as well. If all of the tools are displayed, it is also easier for maintenance to keep track of them. This means that calibrations, adjustments, and other preventative maintenance measures are less likely to be missed.


A cluttered manufacturing floor or warehouse is trouble. Studies show that clutter slows down manufacturing, leads to mistakes, and creates safety issues. Searching for a tool or equipment can completely stop a process. If it happens once a day for five minutes, over a month that time adds up! Hanging items on a board keep them accessible. It eliminates bulky tool chests and messy workstations. It lowers the risk that employees can trip on tools or bump into storage containers near their work station.


Lastly, there are many types of custom tool shadow boards. Some include tools, like wrenches or screwdrivers. Others hold safety equipment, such as face shields or Lock Out/Tag Out locks. Many organisations will create shadow boards for cleaning supplies, like brooms or mops. Regardless of your needs, there are tool shadow boards that can be acclimated to your equipment.