Lean 5S Products

Unleash Efficiency Shadow Boards for Tools Explained

Implementing organizational policies in workplaces across various industries, like healthcare, food, or electronics, is crucial. Without such systems, chaos and emergencies can arise. 

Imagine employees looking for tools during emergencies, accidents due to inappropriate equipment, or cluttered desks.

Hence, organizational strategies are essential for efficiency, employee engagement, and minimizing waste. In industries like electronics, construction, mining, and manufacturing, a critical method for establishing order is using shadow boards for tools. These boards are not just for compliance with the 5S methodology; their benefits extend far beyond that.

The 5s Strategy

Originating in Japan by Toyota, the 5S system is a revolutionary approach to workplace organization. Its goal is to eliminate waste, enhance flow, and minimize processes where feasible. 

The system is built around five core principles: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise, and Sustain. Implementing 5S tools for shadow boards is essential for streamlining workplace operations.


This involves removing non-essential tools, materials, and components. Only necessary items are included in this phase, with the remainder being stored or disposed of.

Set in Order

This step entails organizing tools, materials, and components so that frequently used items are easily accessible, thus cutting down time spent retrieving items for operations.


This phase is about maintaining a clean, tidy, and orderly workspace and equipment, making it straightforward to identify where everything is stored.


This step aims to create uniformity across workstations and clarify everyone’s responsibilities.


Following the implementation of the first four steps, the focus shifts to ensuring that standards are upheld and routinely reviewed. Regular assessments of the procedures and tools are crucial for necessary modifications and ongoing improvement.

Shadow Board For Tools- What Is It?

The Shadow Board Tool System is designed for effective tool management and control, enabling an organized workspace. This system arranges and secures tools and devices in a visually efficient manner, ensuring easy access and recovery. 

Shadow Boards for tools serve as designated storage for tools, supplies, and equipment and are widely used across various industries in production, manufacturing, and service work settings.

The primary goal of the Shadow Board System is to create a tidy environment where equipment, tools, and supplies are conveniently stored near work areas or stations. These boards are often employed to group tools, with their specific locations marked on the board. 

Available in various sizes, a shadow board is tailored to accommodate all essential tools for a given work area, enhancing overall workflow and efficiency.

Types Of Shadow Boards For Tools

There are two primary variants of shadow board systems for tools: traditional Shadow Boards and Shadow Foam.

Shadow Boards

Shadow Boards, often positioned vertically, are crafted from wood, metal, or acrylic materials. Tools are hung on these boards, and when an item is removed, employees mark their identification (such as a name or number) on a designated spot to track the tool’s location.

Shadow Foam

Conversely, Shadow Foam is composed of control foam that is precisely cut to match the dimensions of each tool. This foam is encased in a sturdy box to ensure portability and protection. 

Unlike Shadow Boards, Shadow Foam is typically used for more valuable and delicate tools that require regular calibration and close monitoring.

Key Components Of Shadow Board Tools

Maximizing workplace productivity and reducing waste can be achieved through the visual optimization of tool shadow boards. Three key components are vital for an effective tool shadow board:

ID Labels

Tagging each tool on the shadow board allows easy identification and replacement, even for those unfamiliar with the company’s system. It supports the daily maintenance of order in the workplace. With clear labels, workers can quickly locate and return tools, even if they’re unsure of their exact storage spot.

Color Coding

A color-coding system on shadow boards significantly enhances visual appeal and helps break down language and communication barriers. This method simplifies tool identification and categorization, streamlining the process for employees.

Tools Shadow

Outlining tools on the shadow board is a practical approach to promote visual organization. It allows employees to quickly identify where each device belongs, aiding in maintaining order effortlessly. Even if a worker forgets a tool’s specific color or name, the outline guides them to the correct storage location.

Why Is Using A Shadow Board Tool Important?

Here are some reasons why using a shadow board for tools is essential to organize your workspace efficiently:

  • Orderly Arrangement: Encourages a systematic set-up, ensuring each tool is placed back in its specific location within the workspace.
  • Enhanced Traceability and Efficiency: Offers a clear overview of tool inventory, minimizing the replication of tools and reducing unnecessary replacement costs.
  • Uniformity and Clarity: This helps unify the workspace with a consistent color-coding scheme, allowing any worker to navigate and understand the system easily.
  • Improved Responsibility: Establishes designated spots for secure storage of tools, constantly reminding workers and supervisors to keep track of equipment.
  • Increased Productivity: Enables workers to monitor the location of tools easily, preventing delays in production and errors due to misplaced items.
  • Augmented Safety: Contributes to a tidier workstation, decreasing the likelihood of accidents like tripping, items catching fire, or other damages.

Building Your Own 5s Tool Shadow Board

Here’s how you can make your own DIY shadow board for tools:

For an effective 5S tool shadow board, including only the necessary instruments for a particular workstation is vital.

  • Start by collating all tools and selecting the indispensable ones. Position these tools conveniently close to the work area for optimal utility.
  • Following tool selection, determine the material for your shadow board. Options include metal, plastic, plywood, or acrylic, each offering distinct benefits and potential limitations. 
  • For instance, metal is durable and sleek but conducts electricity, requiring careful handling.
  • Alternatively, foam can be used, especially for delicate tools, which may be boarded on a mobile cart or rack. 
  • Consider the foam’s density as it affects the ease of cutting. Your choice should also involve the tool quantity and the shadow board’s location, which should be easily reachable, prominently visible, and ideally, in a clean environment.
  • Now, arrange the tools on the panel, experimenting with different layouts to maximize space efficiency. 
  • Finalize the configuration that best suits the workflow and space before fixing the tools.


Tools and devices are vital corporate resources, and their appropriate storage and upkeep are crucial. Each workplace has its unique set of needs and challenges, including the management of tools. For many businesses, shadow boards have become the preferred tool management solution.

Adopting shadow boards is an innovative, economical, and efficient approach, yielding benefits for all involved. 

Additionally, maintaining organizational standards is non-negotiable in light of strict government regulations for workplace safety. Regardless of the company’s size, effectively deploying a shadow board system offers significant advantages.

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