What is 5S
5S is an effective tool within Lean Manufacturing for improving workplace organisation. It is not just housekeeping as some seem to think, but a methodical and powerful tool to improve your working environment and improve your efficiencies and safety. Through eliminating and reducing the effects of the seven wastes of lean manufacturing at a local level it creates a workcell that can be 10% to 30% more effecient than it was.
5S Seiketsu Standardise
5S Seiketsu is the 4th step in 5S Lean Manufacturing and one of the harder steps to manage to maintain. The first three steps of 5S (Seiri, Seiton and Seiso) will have ensured that your workplace in now far more organised and efficient, now you have to keep it that way.
5S Seiketsu or standardise is about ensuring that you maintain what you have, Lean Manufacturing and 5S are not tools that you can implement and just say that you have done them, they have to be continually worked on and improved. Through the use of simple audits you can ensure that what you have achieved in the first three steps of 5S are maintained and improved upon.
There must be a defined audit for each area within your working area, be as specific as possible so that the audit is not in any way subjective. Don’t for instance have a box that says cleanliness, score 1 – 10. Have defined points that score such as “cleaning records completed and up to date”, “Incoming goods containers in correct location”, “no pallets outside of defined areas”, and so on.
If each item on the audit has a score then you can be able to create competition between areas in the company so that each can compete to be the best, as well as try to improve as individuals. Have awards for winners to encourage participation and improvement.
Audits should be conducted by people independent of the areas being audited, if possible use management to conduct some audits, even the CEO to show the companies commitment to the importance of this. Chart and display the results (with required corrective actions) in each work cell so that everyone is aware. Don’t let these become out of date or it will slip very quickly back to where it was before.
The 5th stage of 5S is that of Shitsuke, this is where we try to make the principles of 5S part of the overall culture of the organisation. Unless the principles of 5S are embedded deep within the organization then eventually it will stall and revert.
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