A place for everything and everything in its place is a central theme of 5S. Designating a home for all items makes it easy to find them. But what if you are looking for an item and don't know where to find it's home?
This happened to me just last week while on working on a project at one of our plants. In addition to the project work, I was covering for a vacationing Quality Manager. By the middle of the week, a purchased part problem hit the shop floor. To quickly sort the good parts from the bad ones, we needed the test fixture.
Several of us searched all the "normal" spots where it most likely could be stored but the test fixture was no where to be found. Asking around, not one single person in this plant knew where it find it. This lost fixture caused a delay in testing, wasted time searching and created plenty of frustration for all involved.
This muda (waste) could have been avoided if the test fixture had a designated home and this home was clearly identified. In my example, it seems that only one persons knows this information and he was on vacation. Put this valuable home information in the standard work instructions where it could be found. A place for everything and everything in its place only works if everybody knows where to find the designated home!