5S is the name of a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. Transliterated or translated into English, they all start with the letter "S". 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. The decision-making process usually comes from a dialogue about standardization, which builds understanding among employees of how they should do the work.
The 5 S's
There are five primary 5S phases: sorting, set in order, systematic cleaning, standardizing, and sustaining.
Eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts, and instructions. Go through all tools, materials, and so forth in the plant and work area. Keep only essential items and eliminate what is not required, prioritizing things per requirements and keeping them in easily-accessible places. Everything else is stored or discarded.
Straightening or Setting in Order
Arranging tools, parts, and instructions in such a way that the most frequently used items are the easiest and quickest to locate. The purpose of this step is to eliminate time wasted in obtaining the necessary items for an operation.
Sweeping or Shin
Standardized cleaning-point at a 5S organized plant
Clean the workspace and all equipment, and keep it clean, tidy and organized. At the end of each shift, clean the work area and be sure everything is restored to its place. This makes it easy to know what goes where and ensures that everything is where it belongs.
All work stations for a particular job should be identical. All employees doing the same job should be able to work in any station with the same tools that are in the same location in every station. Everyone should know exactly what his or her responsibilities are for adhering to the first 3 S's. Synonym : Systematize
Sustaining the Practice
Maintain and review standards. Once the previous 4 S's have been established, they become the new way to operate. Maintain focus on this new way and do not allow a gradual decline back to the old ways. While thinking about the new way, also be thinking about yet better ways. When an issue arises such as a suggested improvement, a new way of working, a new tool or a new output requirement, review the first 4 S's and make changes as appropriate. It should be made as a habit and be continually improved.
Three other phases are sometimes included: safety, security, and satisfaction. This is however not a traditional set of "phases". Safety for example is inherent in the 5S methodology and is not a step in itself. Therefore the additions of the phases are simply to clarify the benefits of 5S and not a different or more inclusive methodology.
A sixth phase, "Safety", is sometimes added. There is debate over whether including this sixth "S" promotes safety by stating this value explicitly, or if a comprehensive safety program is undermined when it is relegated to a single item in an efficiency-focused business methodology.
A seventh phase, "Security", can also be added. To leverage security as an investment rather than an expense, the seventh "S" identifies and addresses risks to key business categories including fixed assets (PP&E), material, human capital, brand equity, intellectual property, information technology, assets-in-transit and the extended supply chain.
An eighth phase, "Satisfaction", can be included. Employee Satisfaction and engagement in continuous improvement activities ensures the improvements will be sustained and improved upon. The Eighth waste – Non Utilized Intellect, Talent, and Resources can be the most damaging waste of all. It is important to have continuous education about maintaining standards....
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