Use the principles of 5S to organize your decals (and other stuff)

If you have ever heard of the Japanese Six Sigma or LEAN Manufacturing principles, you have probably heard of 5S. This proven methodology utilizes five simple steps for error and waste reduction that can easily be applied to all aspects of manufacturing (and many other industries). The benefits of going LEAN* include reduced inventory costs, more productive employees and overall increased profitability.

Graphics Output employees practice LEAN processes when managing material goods and stock inventory, and know how important graphics and decal organization can be when it comes to productivity in the workplace. No matter if you are a LEAN machine or a total beginner, it is always helpful to clean house at least once per year to keep everything working smoothly. The team at Graphics Output suggests the following steps for getting your decals organized for maximum efficiency.

LEAN Manufacturing 5S’s for Decal Organization


  • Separate out-of-date electronic art by moving all old files to a specific folder
  • Review current items in inventory and throw out all old revisions and parts past their shelf-life (most parts have a 6 month to 2 year shelf lifespan)


  • Give each part number a separate bin or box, sized relative to the decal
  • Organize decals in each bin to follow the FIFO (first in, first out) method


  • Clean the inventory shelves and bins with a bit of elbow grease for a shiny, blank slate


  • Restructure so that all inventory shelves and bins are the same
  • Decide on a method of organization (we suggest using part numbers alphanumerically)
  • Give each decal a labeled location using a consistent naming system, and don’t forget to leave room to grow.
PRO TIP: If you have labels that are only used for specific products, consider color coding bins by product to decrease time spent finding the right decal.


  • Hold employees accountable for maintaining the chosen organization method
  • Evaluate current organization method at least once per year
PRO TIP: Barcoded parts or part locations can integrate with most newer inventory and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Graphics Output provides barcodes and QR codes for many current customers.

Looking for some help?

If all of this seems a little daunting, don’t fret. Graphics Output can not only help you with your print manufacturing, but can assist with inventory management as well, to keep your production floor running smoothly.