Lean Manufacturing

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Clean House
With Lean 5S
by Christopher D. Chapman


elevision shows exploring the virtues of better living through organization are ubiquitous. On such popular shows as “Mission Organization” (Home & Garden Television), “Life
Simplified” (Fine Living) and “Clean Sweep” (TLC),
for example, homeowners and a team of organization professionals clean up homes, get rid of junk that has accumulated over the years, spruce up and

In 50 Words
Or Less
• A 5S system (sort, set in order, shine, standardize
and sustain) creates a disciplined, clean and
well-ordered work environment.
• Many organizations implement only the first
three steps and then wonder why the system
doesn’t work.
• Lack of a robust 5S system makes other lean
tools ineffective.

organize to simplify lives and allow people to make
more efficient use of their time.
Before the homeowners get organized, their lives
are characterized by undue complications and hassles—they are constantly searching for such things as misplaced keys, paying late fees because they
misplaced bills, running late because their children
cannot find their homework or tripping over toys
that were not put away.
Similar types of organization problems that rob
us of valuable time at home exist in the workplace.
Such problems are exacerbated in business because
there are larger numbers of people working together and countless hours of time engaged in these very costly nonvalue adding activities.
In manufacturing, employees are searching for
misplaced tooling and components, obsolete parts
litter the production floor, supervisors spend hours
looking for work in process (WIP) amid a sea of
incomplete orders scattered throughout the shop,
and nonconforming products are mixed with good
parts and are inadvertently sent to customers.
Administrative work environments are not
immune to this lack of organization. Administrative
personnel waste precious time searching for misplaced files in...
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