5S is not just for manufacturing. Here’s an example from motorsports…race trailer 5S. With a little organization, everything needed for a weekend of club racing can be squeezed into a small trailer.
My Lola T-540 Formula Ford filled up the floor of my old 6 by 12 trailer. Packed in around the car were an auxiliary battery, an air bottle, a fire extinguisher, a folding table, fuel jugs, tool boxes, chassis stands, and ramp extensions.
The trick to making such a small trailer work was to fully utilize the space above and below the car. Above you would find mounted tires, spare parts totes, noses, a nose frame, a quick jack, a battery charger, drain pans, funnels, lawn chairs, and a big duffel bag with shelter panels. Below were the poles for the shelter.
While a beautiful example of 5S, the many loading and unloading sequence constraints were getting old. So after 20+ years of faithful service, I retired my minimalist trailer…but not it’s race trailer 5S methods.
With a little more floor space, my new aluminum 7 x 16 V-nose trailer from R&R Trailers is much more efficient to load and unload. As before, the space above the car is fully utilized. Wall mounted E-track allows for flexible shelf locations. Spare parts tote capacity has been doubled. Nothing is located around the car, a huge plus.
The shelter poles are now carried in a tray above the car, a welcome ergonomic improvement.
I was also able to build a small workbench into the nose of trailer. It is drilled for a vise and a small arbor press, a significant functional upgrade.
I designed a ramp door flap to eliminate the need for ramp extensions. What a joy to just roll the car on and off the trailer.
Just as before, everything still has a place. Without the sequence constraints, I can load / unload in just over an hour. When something is needed at the track, I know exactly where it is.
The so what of race trailer 5S? Less is more but sometimes a little more goes a long way. My old trailer, while loved and admired, was just a little too small.
There are many parallels between motorsports and manufacturing. There is much good to be said about a small factory footprint. Just don’t get too carried away. People and materials need a little room to move around.
For more on race trailers, click HERE for my blog on trailer and tow vehicles.