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  • Writer's pictureFahad Gohar

#Lean #Six_Sigma #5S

5S represents Japanese words that describe the steps of a workplace organization process. English equivalent words are shown in parenthesis

  1. Seiri (Sort)Seiton

  2. (Straighten

  3. Set)Seiso (Shine, Sweep)

  4. Seiketsu (Standardize)

  5. Shitsuke (Sustain)

In simple terms, the five S methodology helps a workplace remove items that are no longer needed (sort), organize the items to optimize efficiency and flow (straighten), clean the area in order to more easily identify problems (shine), implement color coding and labels to stay consistent with other areas (standardize) and develop behaviors that keep the workplace organized over the long term (sustain).

It is also referred to as 6S or 5S+S (adding Safety or Security) or even 7s (adding Spirit and Safety). Not to be confused with Six Sigma (often written as 6s).

5S is based on the CANDO system developed by Henry Ford in the early 20th century.

1. Sort (seiri) – Distinguishing between necessary and unnecessary things, and getting rid of what you do not need

  • Remove items not used in area – outdated materials, broken equipment, redundant equipment, files on the computer, measurements which you no longer use

  • Ask staff to tag all items which they don’t think are needed – this improves understanding about need and use

  • Classify all equipment and materials by frequency of use to help decide if it should be removed – place ‘Red Tag’ on items to be removed

  • Establish a ‘holding area’ for items that are difficult to classify – hold item for allotted period to enable others not on 5S team to review

2. Straighten (seiton) – The practice of orderly storage so the right item can be picked efficiently (without waste) at the right time, easy to access for everyone. A place for everything and everything in its place.

  • Identify and allocate a place for all the materials needed for your work

  • Assign fixed places and fixed quantity

  • Make it compact

  • Place heavy objects at a height where they are easy to pick from

  • Decide how things should be put away, and obey those rules

3. Shine (seiso) – Create a clean worksite without garbage, dirt and dust, so problems can be more easily identified (leaks, spills, excess, damage, etc)

  • Identify root causes of dirtiness, and correct process

  • Only one work activity on a workspace at any given time

  • Keep tools and equipment clean and in top condition, ready for use at any time

  • Cleanliness should be a daily activity – at least 5 minutes per day

  • Use chart with signatures/initials shows that the action or review has taken place

  • Ensure proper lighting – it can be hard to see dirt and dust

4. Standardize (seiketsu) – Setting up standards for a neat, clean, workplace

  • Standardization of best practices through ‘visual management’

  • Make abnormalities visible to management

  • Keep each area consistent with one another

  • Standards make it easy to move workers into different areas

  • Create process of how to maintain the standard with defined roles and responsibilities

  • Make it easy for everyone to identify the state of normal or abnormal conditions – place photos on the walls, to provide visual reminder

5. Sustain (shitsuke) – Implementing behaviors and habits to maintain the established standards over the long term, and making the workplace organization the key to managing the process for success

  • Toughest phase is to Sustain – many fall short of this goal

  • Establish and maintain responsibilities – requires leader commitment to follow through

  • Every one sticks to the rules and makes it a habit

  • Participation of everyone in developing good habits and buy-in

  • Regular audits and reviews

  • Get to root cause of issues

  • Aim for higher 5S levels – continuous improvement

Credit: BPI


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