If you think about world class precision manufacturing facilities, what image comes to mind? Is it a dark, dirty workshop in the back of a warehouse? A room full of greasy overall-wearing men? I doubt it.

Usually, the sorts of images associated with these firms is verging on the futuristic. Clean, bright environments where nothing sits out of place and innovation reigns.

I learned this approach on the job with world class manufacturing operations like Toyota, but it is a principle also enshrined in lean manufacturing theory. The “5S” principles were developed in Japan as a way of maintaining neat, organised workspaces.

5S stands for sort, set in order, shine, standardise and sustain. That is, making sure all unnecessary work tools and supplies are removed from the workspace (sort), all necessary tools have their specific places (set in order), work spaces are cleaned as work is performed (shine), cleaning methods are applied consistently (standardise), and that the practice of 5S is continually improved (sustain).

At Contour, we simplify this to asking ourselves – ‘can you eat off the floor?’ Clean and tidy workplaces not only make it easier to work in but also are appealing to customers. It shows that you care about your business and what you do.

The way in which the business presents itself in general should be “clean enough to eat off”. Whether that is the clothing worn by employees or the product delivered to the end-users, you should always keep in your mind that good enough is never enough.

The reputation of high performance engineering workforces is a key success factor but can also be the hardest thing to build. If the customer experience is lacking, your reputation will suffer as a consequence. The first impression a customer gets visiting your workspace should flow right through the product they can deliver their end-users.

If every part of your business is saying to themselves “good enough is never enough” you begin to create a culture of excellence, where everyone works just a little bit harder to make something perfect. This is the sort of culture that customers take notice of and makes great impressions on them, developing a great reputation for your business and helping to boost success.

Contour Engineering have produced an eBook on the four principles for creating a precision manufacturing culture that delivers ‘on-time with zero defects’. In this eBook we outline, explain and delve into each of the principles. You can also learn more our precision engineering services here.

Download the eBook “It’s not always about the machines” to learn more.