It is said that performance is related to housekeeping and workplace organization. It is a first step to improving operating results. The 5S Tool is a common sense approach to improve the visual control in the workplace. The decision-making process usually comes from a dialogue about standardization, which builds understanding among employees of how they should do the work. It can apply to both manufacturing and the service setting.
The term 5S is an abbreviated reference to five Japanese words that control workplace organization and housekeeping. Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke make up the 5S Tool. Taking it a bit further, we would define them into the following 5 words:
Housekeeping – Dispose of or remove the unnecessary items from the shop floor. The unnecessary collect dirt, get damaged, get lost or create unsafe situations.
Organization – Needed items must have a quick and accessible place at the work station. All items should have a standardized place. There is a place for everything and everything in its place.
Clean Up – Process discipline is reinforced by cleanliness. It shows respect for the workers by management and enforces a defined process.
Cleanliness – Continuous cleaning means you are always ready. If cleaning is continuous by all, there is never a dispute on who is responsible. Create a clear responsibility and leave no place untouched.
Discipline – Rules must be clearly communicated and strict accountability must be held. Quality will be improved with proper discipline in cleanliness.
Decreasing distractions in the workplace is the best description for the 5S Tool. The tool positively affects and influences every part of the process and worker performance. It is understood with 5S, you will never see a plant that runs well being dirty and disorganized. Likewise, you will never see a dirty and disorganized plant run well.
The 5S system is a great place to start for all improvement efforts across a business platform. The 5S Tool is especially attractive to older manufacturing facilities who are seeking to make significant improvements in quality.
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