Workplace organization methods create productive warehouses. These production maintenance philosophies enable efficiency and effectiveness for all warehouse workers. Therefore, innovative organizations employ one of these production maintenance philosophies. So, which should you choose? Here we describe each methodology.

5 S

5 S uses five Japanese words which translate to “sort”, “set in order”, “shine”, “standardize”, and “sustain”. This enables warehouse efficiency and effective organization. By storing the items in an easily identified place and keeping this area clean and organized, it ensures the system is kept updated. Also, it allows companies to standardize the manufacturing and maintenance process to empower all workers in their roles for maximum productivity.

Failure Finding Maintenance

Failure finding maintenance (FFM) detects unknown failures with protective parts like pressure safety valves. The idea behind this philosophy is, you do not prevent failure. Instead, you discover where your production is breaking down because of faulty equipment. You conduct tests at fixed time intervals like every six months. Once you identify faulty equipment, you can replace your broken parts with working ones. Therefore, you can get back to your optimal productivity level.


Kaizen is another Japanese philosophy. In this case, it stands for “improvement.” However, with Kaizen, there is no end to the process. Rather, Kaizen refers to continuous improvement of all functions of the business. It involves every single employee, from production maintenance workers to the CEO. This philosophy eliminates waste, and ensures workers aren’t performing unnecessarily redundant tasks.

Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is also known as lean production, just-in-time manufacturing, and just-in-time production. It increases efficiency by only receiving materials when they’re needed for the production process. You drastically reduce inventory costs because you use less warehouse space. However, the main factor of lean manufacturing requires accurate forecasting. If you don’t predict the necessary amount of materials needed for successful production, your warehouse output will decrease.

Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle is one of the few production maintenance philosophies that recognizes individual contributions. This methodology argues that 80 percent of your total productivity comes from only 20 percent of your workers. Also, 80 percent of your warehouse’s production volume makes up 20 percent of your stock keeping units (SKUs) for production and distribution. In other words, majority of your production efforts are devoted to only a few of your top-selling products. Therefore, your warehouse should be organized by making materials necessary for these products readily available.

PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act Cycle)

Plan, Do, Check, Act Cycle (PDCA) is similar to Kaizen in that it requires continuous improvement. However, while the two have the same result, the methods used to achieve this are different. PDCA has the following steps:

  • Plan- Here, you need to define your objectives and processes used to build your products.
  • Do– Now, how do you achieve these results? What do you have to “do” to make the process work?
  • Check– Next, you analyze how efficient you are. You do this by reviewing your warehouse data to see if there are any inefficiencies in your process.
  • Act– Finally, here is where you improve any and all inefficient stages throughout your production process.

Interestingly, PDCA is based on the scientific method. Just like in the scientific method, you come up with a theory, test your hypothesis, and then evaluate your results.

Risk Based Maintenance

Risk based maintenance (RBM) increases your profitability through more efficient operations. RBM achieves this by optimizing the total life cycle cost while considering safety and/or environmental issues. For instance, by understanding the shelf life of products, warehouses can perform preventative maintenance for high-performing systems. Then, compare what happens if the system does break down. By evaluating the two, you can make better management decisions that enable continued productivity.

Time Based Maintenance

Another one of the production maintenance philosophies is time based maintenance (TBM). TBM requires your warehouse replaces items at a fixed schedule to prevent breakdown. The idea being, you can reasonably predict when a part or machine is expected to break down. Therefore, instead of waiting for the failure to happen, you replace it as close to as when it would have happened as possible. This allows for minimum disruption to the production process.

Toyota Production System

The Toyota Production System was developed by the car manufacturer, but has been adopted by other industries. Interestingly, TPS was the inspiration for lean manufacturing. It marries manufacturing and logistics to optimize productivity. By eliminating waste and production bottlenecks, the manufacturing process is more consistent. Also, TPS requires there be some flexibility within the process that doesn’t create stress. As long as anything you do doesn’t create waste, of course.

Total Quality Management

Finally, total quality management also requires continuous improvement. This philosophy installs a work culture where employees are always striving to create a better process for the company’s products. Similarly, TQM requires that all departments and employees look for ways to create more efficient methods, like Kaizen. This philosophy requires regular training to increase organizational efficiency.

If you want to find top production maintenance talent, reach out to Applied Resource Group. As Atlanta’s top staffing firm, we deliver high-performing experts who employ these production maintenance philosophies to their work.