If you want to get a first-hand or clear idea of an organization and its culture, walk around its premises and observe the housekeeping practices – the way the floors are swept, the work tables organized, the tools and stationery stored, the way the toilets are kept and the way the equipments are maintained. These often tell more than any financial statement. They are closely linked to the flow of activities, employees’ morale, product quality and inventory level. An organization with good housekeeping practices is able to control costs, foster greater safety, enhance customer satisfaction and reduce staff turnover.
2.0 Basics of 5S
2.1 What is 5S?
Good housekeeping contributes to productivity improvement and the methodology for good housekeeping is the concept popularly known as 5S, which originated from Japan. 5S is the acronym for 5 Japanese words. 5S removes waste from work environment through better workplace organization, standardization, visual communication and general cleanliness. 5S factories are so well organized that abnormal situations will be readily apparent. The methods are so simple that you can learn it today and start practicing it today itself. The applications of 5S are universal and can be applied at the work places, at homes, at public places like roads, bus stands, railways stations etc.
2.2 The Five S’s
In Japanese the Five S’s are Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke. The English equivalent are Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.
Seiri is eliminating unnecessary items from the workplace and to keep only what is required for daily usage.
All unwanted items are removed and placed in a specially demarcated area called ‘red tag area’ with a slip called ‘red tag’ . The Red tag slip will describe the item, quantity and date of tagging. The removed items are moved to a more organized storage location outside the work area from where it is either disposed or used by someone else. Guidelines have to be framed for ‘red tagging’ to prevent loss of useful items.
Seiri helps to utilize the floor space effectively and ensures safety by removing clutters and obstructions.
2.4 Seiton – Set
Seiton is keeping the needed items (those remaining after Seiri) in the correct place for easy and quick retrieval.
Anything that is useful and used daily should have a place and it should be replaced in the same place after each usage. Visual indicators should be used for easy retrieval and replacement.
Seiton improves Inventory management. It also reduces Search time.
2.5 Seiso – Shine
Seiso is keeping the work place clean and also inspecting while cleaning. Cleaning should be done at a specific time everyday. While cleaning, inspection is also done to identify damages, defects etc. It is very important to clean the hidden areas where dust and insects are prone to settle. Appropriate tools should be used for cleaning. Cleaning without care can cause more damage.
Regular cleaning will improve the life of the equipments. Future problems are proactively identified and corrected.
2.6 Seiketsu – Standardize
Seiketsu is developing standards & responsibilities for the first 3Ss. It is about the standardization required for the first three S’. By following standardization, mistakes can be avoided. This ensures Right First Time and improves quality. People become experts in doing the same thing the same way every time.
Uniform standards and procedures across the organization for labeling, colour codes, indicators and safety norms avoid ambiguity. Visual signage and controls are displayed wherever possible. Checklists, Responsibility Lists and Schedules are established for cleaning
2.7 Shitsuke – Sustain
Shitsuke is to introduce necessary mechanisms that are required to sustain the first 4Ss. This is the toughest and important of all the Ss. Organization wide training program at regular...