Companies often struggle to improve efficiencies and wonder how best to go about maximising value while reducing waste. With the help of the 5S principles, a business can accomplish these goals without spending a lot of money to do so.
5S is a workplace organisation method that uses a list of five Japanese words:
- seiri (整理),
- seiton (整頓),
- seisō (清掃),
- seiketsu (清潔), and
- shitsuke (躾).
These have been translated as “Sort”, “Set In order”, “Shine”, “Standardize” and “Sustain”. The list describes how to organize a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new order. (Wikipedia)
Let’s have a look at this method.
Identify and get rid of all obsolete and unneeded items (including items which do not belong to the area).
2. Set in order
Once all unnecessary items are removed, organise that which remains.
Once everything is organised, clean up.
Maintain sort, set in order, and shine – through simple procedures, so that unacceptable situations will not reoccur.
Make a habit of ‘clean and organise as you go’, and properly maintain procedures and schedules.
5S can be seen as a process (step-by-step approach for efficient workplace organisation). It is based on the CAPDo (Check, Analyse, Plan, Do) cycle for continuous improvement. Benefits of implementing 5S include the following:
- It gives first-line teams a say in what happens in their work area.
- It provides employees with a chance to study problems and to suggest solutions in a structured way.
- Employees learn very simple, but practical and effective problem-solving techniques for identifying root causes.
- Employees learn that procedures are there to ensure that a bad/poor situation never occurs again.
- It puts fun into the workplace when doing something other than normal daily tasks, especially if competition between teams starts developing.
- Employees learn the value of teamwork between teams or shifts.
Pictured here, Wispeco Aluminium NQF2 learners discussing the 5S principle.
To read more about ODI’s Continuous Operations Improvement System, click here.