What is it: The 5S methodology is a structured lean program that is implemented in a shared workplace deciding what should be kept, where it should be kept, and how it should be stored. 5S is a reference to five Japanese words beginning with "S" that describe 5 primary undertakings for a standardized cleanup program, to create a workplace suited for visual control and lean production, they are as follows:
- Seiri (sort) tidiness, refers to the practice of sorting through all the tools, materials, etc., in the work area and keeping only essential items. Everything else is stored or discarded. This leads to fewer hazards and less clutter to interfere with productive work.
- Seiton (set in order) focuses on the need for an orderly workplace. Tools, equipment, and materials must be systematically arranged for the easiest and most efficient access with all tools and parts clearly identified for ease of use. There must be a place for everything, and everything must be in its place. The key concept here is to order items or activities in a manner to promote work flow.
- Seiso (shine) cleanliness, means to maintain a clean workplace. Indicates the need to keep the workplace clean as well as neat. At the end of each shift, the work area is cleaned up and everything is restored to its place. Thoroughly clean and inspect everything in the work area, no trash or dirt allowed.
- Seiketsu (standardize) standards, means to conduct seiri, seiton, and seiso at frequent, indeed daily, intervals to maintain a workplace in perfect condition. Maintain the improvements through discipline and structure this leads to control and consistency. Standardising work practices or operating in a consistent and standardized fashion, that everyone knows exactly what his or her responsibilities are. Visual management is an important aspect to facilitate easy understanding of these standards.
- Shitsuke (sustain) sustaining discipline, means to form the habit of always following the first four Ss. Refers to maintaining standards. Ingraining the 5S's into the culture of the work place through the continue to support of 5S efforts through auditing, job descriptions that maintenance of the system, management support and expectations. Once the previous 4S's have been established they become the new way to operate. Maintain the focus on this new way of operating, and do not allow a gradual decline back to the old ways of operating. However, when an issue arises such as a suggested improvement or a new way of working, or a new tool, or a new output requirement then a review of the first 4S's is appropriate.
Why use it: 5S improves safety, work efficiency, improves productivity, motivates people and establishes a sense of ownership by inducing a discipline in an organization.The 5S's leads to improved processes and ultimately:
- Reduced set-up times
- Reduced cycle times
- Increased floor space
- Lower safety incident/accident rate
- Less wasted labor
- Better equipment reliability
Where to use it: 5S is used in a shared work place that promotes visual workplace and visual factory principles.
When to use it: 5S efforts almost always improve workplace safety, operator morale, quality, and throughput. A workplace organization tool/process that maximizes the cleanliness, organization, and safety of all elements in a working environment. 5S supports a smooth production process in various ways. Searching for tools is eliminated, flow principles are applied, tools storage is done where they are needed most. Location indicators visualise how things have been organised, and non conformities are seen at once. The 5S method improves employees' ownership and leads to substantial quality improvement, cost reduction as well as product and process safety.
How to use it:
- Sort: Clearing the work area. Any work area should only have the items needed to perform the work in the area. All other items should be cleared (sorted out) from the work area.
- Set in Order: Designating locations. Everything in the work area should have a place and everything should be in its place.
- Shine: Cleanliness & workplace appearance. Not only should the work area be clear, it should also be clean. Cleanliness involves housekeeping efforts, improving the appearance of the work area, and even more importantly, preventive housekeeping - keeping the work area from getting dirty, rather than just cleaning it up after it becomes dirty.
Standardize: Everyone doing things the same way. Everyone in the work area and in the organization must be involved in the 5S effort, creating best practices and then getting everyone to "copy" those best practices the same way, everywhere, and every time. Work area layouts and storage techniques should be standardized wherever possible.
Sustain: Ingraining the 5S's into the culture. It's tough to keep a 5S effort, or any improvement effort for that matter, going. The 5S's involve a culture change. And to achieve a culture change, it has to be ingrained into the organization - by everyone at all levels in the organization.
Comments: Often in the west, alternative terms are used for the five S's. These are "Sort, Straighten, Shine, Systemise and Sustain" "Standardize" is also used as an alternative for "Systemize". Sometimes "Safety" is included as 6th S. Additional practices are frequently added to 5S, under such headings as 5S Plus, 6S, 5S+2S, 7S, etc. The most common additional S is for Safety mentioned above. 5S is used with other Lean concepts such as SMED, TPM, and Just-In-Time (JIT). The 5S discipline requires clearing out things which are not needed in order to make it easier and faster to obtain the tools and parts that are needed. This is the foundation of SMED, which in turn enables JIT production.