Lean Six Sigma Van

Lean Six Sigma Van

My First Lean Project: 5-S Project Work Vans — In this post I am going to share my first Lean Sigma project. My hope is that you will get a sense of how Lean can be applied in any facility service. In obtaining my Green Belt for a national janitorial company, I chose a 5-S project. If you are not familiar with 5-S, it stands for Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.

Closet-Reference-NO-lean-sigmaIsn’t it amazing that even though 5-S actions, such as setting in order and shining, are basic principles behind janitorial services, commercial cleaning companies sometimes fail to meet those basic principles in some areas? Just check your janitorial closet. Does it meet 5-S standards?

Does this photo represent your facility’s closets? >>>

By implementing 5-S you instantly improve productivity. This is because tools, equipment and supplies that you must sort through and find are now easily found and applied to the standard work. For this reason, I was excited to make 5-S my first project. My project focused on implementing 5-S for my project work vans.

National Janitorial Companies manage portfolios that are geographically disperse. It’s not uncommon for an Area Manager to oversee as many as 60 to 70 sites, with an average of 15 to 20 employees each. These multi-site accounts require project work, which require vans. Traveling between each facility can involve 35,000 to 45,000 miles of windshield time per year.  It also requires frequent stops on a route where equipment has to be unloaded and loaded–what we call set-up and close time. Set up and close time creates “Waiting” before crews can get to their standard work. “Waiting” is one of 8 wastes we target as a Lean Sigma Janitorial company.

By applying 5-s to each van, I can reduce “waiting” by lowering the unloading and uploading time in between each facility stop. This increases my management teams’ productivity, allowing them to manage more accounts, which makes them more efficient.  Reducing project work set up time adds value to my customers by reducing costs and increasing quality.

Here are some before and after pictures of my project.

…before applying 5-S StandardsVan-Before

Van-After…After application of
5-S using DMAIC!



What is DMAIC?

DMAIC refers to a data-driven improvement cycle used for improving, optimizing and stabilizing business processes. The DMAIC improvement cycle is the core tool used to drive Six Sigma projects.

DMAIC is an abbreviation of the five improvement steps:

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control

Applying Lean principles, DMAIC and 5-S:

  • We first defined our problem;
  • Conducted a “Gemba Walk(Gemba Walks denote the action of going to see the actual process, understand the work, ask questions, and learn. It is known as one fundamental part of Lean management philosophy);
  • Continued asking why until I got to the root cause;
  • Assembled a team;
  • Brainstormed;
  • Looked at available resources;
  • Created an Improvement Plan;
  • Mistake Proofed it;
  • Trained Managers; and
  • Continue to Follow-up and Improve.
RubberRoadWhat does all this mean “where the rubber meets the road”?
  • 1 – Highly Visible Safety Tape….Safety First!
  • 2 – Shelving with dividers, hooks, and bins
  • 3 – E-Track to ceiling and sides
  • 4 – Hose reels for fresh water hose and pressure water hoses
  • InsideVan(3)5 – Bench seating for 3
  • 6 – Safety divider behind bench seat
  • 7 – Triple hook on safety divider to hang coats, hats, etc.
  • 8 – Filing console between front seats for paperwork and lockable storage


Most Importantly: Safety First!

A. Hooks, Straps and Bins keeps everything securely in its place.
B. Just one door to open to get most used products out easily.
C. Safety Vest, Hat, Coat, Emergency Roadside Kit, and Little Giant Ladder all fit nicely behind the bench seat.
D. Steel guards on the windows add protection and safety.


With a Lean Six Sigma Van…


…facility service managers are happy managers!


Bryan Goold

Bryan Goold joined Varsity in January 2000.Serving in several different management and operational capacities throughout his career.Today he is the District Manager over the Cascade Pacific District of Varsity Facility Services.The Cascade Pacific District stretches from Mt St Helens in Washington to Mt Shasta in N. California, then East from the California-Oregon Hwy 97 to the West Coast.

Bryan is a Master Textile Cleaner from the IICRC and a Journeyman Restorer for Fire, Smoke, and Water.He also is Green Belt Certified Lean Six Sigma.Bringing a unique management approach to the industry challenges that happen today.Serving in the Pacific Northwest has given him opportunities to embrace cleaning for LEED buildings and introducing sustainability for all accounts through our JanOps System.

Bryan and his wife Stephanie have been married for 24 years and have 4 children.They are Foster Parents and currently have added 2 additional children into their home.Hobbies include Ham Radio, call sign KE7UEX, Outdoor Cooking on his Traeger Pellet Grill, or when Camping in his Camp Chef Dutch Ovens.For many years Bryan has volunteered with the Boy Scouts as a Leader, and volunteered as a Red Cross Trainer for 1st Aid/CPR/AED.

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