Now you can create a very effective color coding system by taking advantage of our dots, squares, stars and tapes that all share 38 matching colors.
To show you how, imagine we're at a fictitious ice cream plant in Kansas City. The general manager of the plant, Maximus Mergatroid Lucius (Max for short), is going to walk us through how his company uses matching color coding products in their daily operations.
We use these almost as much as milk around here. There are five main suppliers we get our ingredients from, and there are 15 primary customers we sell to. Each one of these 20 has a color. To help distinguish between suppliers and customers, we use fluorescent colors for our suppliers and a combination of Standard and eaRth Tone colors (my wife liked the eaRth Tone color line).
We stick 3" dots on larger boxes of inventory. Depending on the supplier, our quality-control manager will write an expiration date on the dot. She likes the 3" instead of the smaller sizes, because there's plenty of room to write on the label, and they're easier to spot from far away, especially for the fork lift drivers.
For smaller bags, bins or parts where we don't need to see it from far away, we use 3/4" dots of the same color for the same supplier. We especially like these labels, because they come in dispenser boxes, which makes our lives a lot easier.
Though we don't use tape as much as dots, it's been a life saver for a few reasons:
Usually, we get 5 boxes of dots of one color and one roll of the same colored tape (usually the 60 yard roll for the best value). At first, we bought the 1/2" width, but over time we found that the 3/4" was better, because it provided more space for legible writing.
We've found that the tape works better than labels for color coding our metal, cylindrically-shaped containers. The other time we use tape is for temporarily labeling all kinds of odds 'n ends. It's really nice to mark something with it, then peel it off a few days later without having to get out the Goo Gone™.
Oh, one other place we use tape is when we need long strips to mark shelves. Other than that, tape works in a pinch when we're temporarily out of labels.
Each supplier and customer has their own filing system. We try to do as much as we can to digitize our workflow, but there are still many times where hard copies of PO's, invoices, quotes, inventory data, or fulfillment instructions come in really handy.
We use 1" x 3" rectangular labels to stick on each one's folder. Each supplier may have 20 folders, so you can imagine it's easy to mix them up. The rectangle label sticks neatly to the folders, we can fold them onto the tabs easily, and there's plenty of room to write their name on the label too!
When it comes to different binders for our customer information, we just use 1/2" x 3/4" labels. They stick perfectly on the spines of each binder, so we can quickly differentiate from 98 binders that are on our bookshelf.
There are two things we do with stars: hot rush orders and designating shift leaders.
When an expedited order comes through the door, the order sheet gets a regular 3/4" dot to designate which customer it's going to. To show that it needs to be expedited, we put the same colored star next to the dot.
Also, we have three shifts in our plant. Among these shifts are some employees who don't speak English as a first language, rotating shift leaders, and a lot of schedule changes. Depending on staffing that day, one individual may or may not be the shift leader. So at the beginning of each shift, every shift leader puts a bright, fluorescent green star next to their name tag. This has really helped us clear up a lot of confusion.
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