5S is a methodology for
organizing the workplace. It is based on
a five step process. The initials stand
for five Japanese words that do not have
exact translations, but a common attempt
SEIRI Sort: eliminate
clutter and discard items that are not needed
regularly. Items not immediately required
are 'red tagged' and moved to a holding
area. After a period of time the items that
have not been used are discarded, or removed
to a separate store.
SEITON Set in Order: organize
the work area. This can include shelves,
cabinets, shadow boards and so on. Everything
should have a place, and it an item is missing
it should be apparent.
SEISO Shine: Clean the
work area. Cleaning should then become a
Determine the 'best practice' and standardized
SHITSUKE Sustain (or Self
Discipline): Continue to keep the workplace
clean and organized. Everybody should get
into the habit of doing their '5S' duties
daily, leaving their workplace clean and
tidy when they knock off.
5S is used in Lean
Production and is
an excellent starting point for process
improvement and Six
Sigma. The organization gets
a significant efficiency benefit for little
cost, it also encourages ‘systems
thinking’. Managers and employees
may be resistant at first, but nobody can
argue with the logic because we all know
that keeping up with the 'housekeeping'
saves time in the long run. This can be
the foundation for a systems approach.