Formally defined, 5S is a method of creating a clean and orderly workplace that exposes waste and makes abnormalities immediately visible. As such it’s important to realize that 5S is far more than a housekeeping initiative like so many confuse it to be. When someone refers to 5S they’re generally referring to 5 Japanese words that start with S. But, it would seem, contrary to what many people assume… the origins of 5S may not be Japanese after all. History of 5S:
In fact, Henry Ford’s CANDO program which stands for cleaning up, arranging, neatness, discipline, and ongoing improvement seems to be the obvious precursor to what we call 5S today. This actually seems very logical since the Japanese studied Ford’s methods shortly after the war ended. But to be sure, the 5S we’re focused on in this course and in most lean manufacturing situations is based on 5 Japanese words. They are: • Seiri which is commonly translated as sort
• Seiton which means to straighten
• Seisou which means to sweep or shine
• Seiketsu which actually means to sanitize but is most commonly referred to as standardize today • Shitsuke which means self discipline or sustain
The 5 Steps
The first step is sort. This step basically challenges us to get rid of the things we don't need or use. This can be a very hard step for some people since they like to keep everything they’ve ever come into contact with. But this type of attitude only leads to clutter and disorganization. So, if we don’t need it we need to get rid of it.
The second step is straighten. So, once we’ve cleared out the items we don’t need we need to straighten up what’s left. The mantra of a place for everything, and everything in its place fits this step perfectly.
The third step is sweep. This step is also often referred to as shine. This is probably the most misunderstood step of all since most assume this step simply means to grab a broom and clean up. And while good...
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