The 5S method is recognized in many organisations as successful tool for improving workplace efficiency and reducing waste. There are many benefits of implementing the 5S system into a workplace on the production line or in the office.
Seiri (Sort): There are so many tools or things at the work station that are of no use. First step is arranging essential and unnecessary things, and getting rid of what is not required. Some of the points to take care are
- Remove things or items not in use– out-of-date materials, broken apparatus, surplus equipment, unused files on the computer.
- Tag all items that are needed – this develops understanding about need and use.
- Organize all apparatus and materials by frequency of use, it can help to decide if it should be removed and put ‘Red Tag’ on stuff to be removed
- Set up a ‘holding area’ for items that cannot be classified and keep things there for time when not in use.
Seiton (Orderliness): Next step is the practice of orderly storage so the right item can be picked at the right time and easy to access for everyone. There should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place. Points to be taken in consideration are
- Identify and assign a place for all the equipments needed for work
- Allot fixed space for every item and put the fixed quantity
- Place heavy items at a place and height from where they can be picked easily
Seiso (Shine): Seiso is step related to sweeping or cleaning of tools and equipment on a regular basis. We must keep the work area and any related apparatus clean. Dirty process tools can increase the chance for process unevenness and lead to failure. Some things to be reminded are
- Keep the workplace clean and pleasing to work in.
- Clean the place of work and tools on a daily basis, or at regular time interval.
- Check the workstation and equipment while cleaning for things like anything out of the ordinary such as oil leakage, damaged cables, burnt out bulbs, unclean sensors etc
Seiketsu (Standardization): Seiketsu is to standardize the processes used to sort, order and clean the workplace. In this step we develop the standards for the system. There will be the setting of standards that are measured and maintained. In this step, standard work instructions, checklists, definite work and other documentation are created. Few things to be noted are
- Establish actions and schedules to make sure the continuation of the first three ‘S’ practices.
- Develop standard procedures and practices for every task to complete.
- Ensure everyone know about responsibilities of performing the sorting, organizing and cleaning.
- Use photos and visual controls to help keep everything as it should be.
Shitsuke (Sustain/self-discipline): Shitsuke or sustain is the developed processes by self-discipline of the workers. Also translates as “do without being told”.
Sustaining is the maintenance of the Sort, Orderliness, Shine and Standardize steps. It is the most important step to perform 5S on a regular and systematic basis. Usually a standard audit system is developed and implemented in this step. Some important aspects are
- Ensure that the 5S approach is followed.
- Make 5S as culture of organisation.
- Carry out regular audits to meet defined standards
- Implement improvements whenever required. Worker participation should be taken in consideration.
- Make sure that all new workers (or employees who get transfers) receive training about their department’s 5S methods.