Lean Six Sigma Manufaturing

The Method of the 5S

5S Lean Manufacturing

5S is the name of a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. Transliteratedor 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.


Eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts. 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.

5S Sort Real Example >


Set in Order:

Arrange the work, workers, equipment, parts, and instructions in such a way that the work flows free of waste through the value added tasks with a division of labor necessary to meet demand.

5S Set in Order Real Example >


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 step ensures that the workstation is ready for the next user and that order is sustained.

5S Shine Real Example >


Ensure uniform procedures and setups throughout the operation to promote interchangeability.


Make it a way of life. This means commitment. Ensure disciplined adherence to rules and procedures of 5 S to prevent backsliding.

Why implement the 5S Method?


Then why should a company to implement the 5S Method? All will answer that serve to give discipline to keep clean and tidy the place of work etc.


But this alone is enough to say that the 5S Lean is a tool ? Absolutely not. Indeed, one could argue that the 5S are a big waste of time, a waste of all. Because to them you have to stop and put everything in order, throw away everything you do not need, do the visual standard for what remains and keep it under tight control, keeping the visual standard over time. So it's not just a waste of time initially, but also the future for all of these controls and audits that have to be made ​​to verify that everything is still in place.

So that's what I will answer most of the executives in companies : "It 's a waste of time ... that does not do anything ..." .

So why 5S ? What is the value of this tool ?


The only reason that " cleaning makes the most beautiful place " is not enough to keep the workplace tidy. Maybe at the beginning there will be a bit of maintenance , but the more time that passes, the more things will return to how they were before - that the disorder.

What is important to be successful in the implementation of 5S is the purpose . What is the purpose of the company ? What is the perfect process that you want to achieve? What does he look ?

Once you have the answers to these questions you need to ask yourself how they can (and if you can ... ) 5S help in approaching your purpose.

If the aim is to have a perfect process , without waste, with a continuous flow of a piece at a time, without defects, then the 5S probably will in the path toward ... It will be considered as added value for the company and not a waste.

But if the 5S are applied without an apparent purpose , without a long-term vision , and then applied in isolation, then it is likely that they will actually be a waste ...

So is the leadership of the organization must have a clear idea before you give an input to do a certain thing. It should also teach people their vision of the perfect process , so that people assimilate and apply the concepts with greater motivation in its realization. And reward them properly when you get closer to this goal really.

At this point you will no longer much needed push people to keep their workplace clean and tidy - they will do it for intrinsic motivation . Will no longer be necessary audits to check that a tool is where it needs to be at a given moment : they will be the same people who operate the processes to find the best ways to make them work and not waste time looking for things or keep them away from your desk job. Will be the people to ask themselves and to pursue the objectives aimed at improving the process through the improvement of their usual place of work .

But underlying it all is the goal , the vision of the company , the training of basic tools of lean and leadership to spread these ideas at all.

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