What Is 5S?
5S is a style of workplace organization developed alongside other lean manufacturing concepts (such as kanban and SMED). The Toyota Production System in Japan was the first to identify and implement 5S techniques, which is why the original concepts are Japanese terms (seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke).
5S defines five core necessities for safe, efficient, and sustainable workplace operations. In English, the 5 S’s are:
1. Sort, or Simplify (Seiri)
First, the workplace must be organized. All unnecessary materials, tools, and miscellaneous items should be removed from the work area. All other materials should have their own homes and will only be removed to be used.
2. Straighten, or Set in Order (Seiton)
Number two brings purpose to the work area. Workers should implement visual management techniques to increase workflow efficiency and make problem identification a priority. All employees should understand arrangement and locations for easy retrieval and return of items.
3. Shine (Seiso)
The third “S” is cleanliness. All defects, dirt, and debris should be removed from the area. The work area, equipment, and tools should be free of grime and other contaminants. Cleaning and maintenance should be performed on a regular basis.
4. Standardize (Seiketsu)
Steps 1-3 should be addressed frequently to maintain a clean, orderly workplace. The more often they are revisited, the more familiar personnel will be with the new standards of operation.
5. Sustain (Shitsuke)
Employees should uphold all of these standards and work to improve every day, little by little. Long-term, sustained improvements will increase overall efficiency, employee performance, and morale.
5S works alongside visual management to make kanban, SMED, and other lean concepts more effective. Like other lean techniques, it aims to eliminate waste throughout the manufacturing process and decrease the number of tasks in process at one time.
The 5S philosophy improves safety for employees by removing hazards and unnecessary items, improves communication and movement across work areas by decreasing clutter, and increases worker efficiency by decreasing the amount of time spent looking for tools.
Benefits of 5S Implementation
5S techniques increase overall profitability by improving performance, morale, and quality of work. That means you, the customer, receive products made in a less contaminated work area, and products that are less likely to be defective due to a more organized work space.
As with all aspects of lean manufacturing, 5S reduces waste and builds the foundation for efficiency throughout the manufacturing process.
Further, the improved performance of employees means faster, higher quality work at each stage. Clients have seen improved lead times and higher product quality with 5S implementation alongside other lean concepts.
Topics: OEM Roll Forming
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