5S is a concept developed in Japan. It helps in creating an environment with a motto “Every item has a place and it looks good when that item is in its correct place.” Upon practicing this concept, the result is organized, clean, and safe work environment that encourages uninterrupted and efficient workflow. It is not a cleaning program but an organizational and individual efficiency developing culture. Everyone should learn and put in into practice. To be able to practice 5S individuals need determination, attention to details, and the ability to understand what is important.
The 5S stands for
- 1. Seiri (Sort)
- 2. Seiton (Set in order)
- 3. Seiso (Shine)
- 4. Seiketsu (Standardize)
- 5. Shitsuke (Sustain)
5S in Workplace- The Benefits
When executed in the office 5S results in,
- Increases moral values of the workforce
- Fosters all round development in organization
- Reduces wastage
- Reduces storage costs
- Helps in creating safe and healthy work environment
- Earns positive feedback from customers
- Increases efficiency of employees
5S - The Application
- Sort: Sort items in the organization into two groups - Green and Red- this colors represents necessary items and unnecessary items, respectively. Collect all the unnecessary items and act accordingly, i.e., you may dispose or recycle. After completion of this step, you should end up with only essentials.
Before sorting, one should ask, “What items I need for completing my job?” which facilitates competent sorting. While red tagging i.e., disposing unnecessary items we sure face some difficulty in grouping things. Remember, only important items should remain after sorting. You can throw away the unnecessary items, but the items which are neither of primary importance nor unnecessary can be stored separately labeled. Make sure they are within reach when needed. If frequently (not regularly) needed, store nearby. If occasionally needed, they can be stored away from main work area. The less frequency of using the item, the more distant it should be from work area. Individual departments can have a small separate storing/holding area for the items. Stick a note with all the items in it on storing/holding box. The removal of items can be done in 3 ways. They can be disposed, recycled, or sold. Take the opinions of all workers into consideration while sorting.
- Set in order: After sorting, the tools and equipments should be arranged in an easy-to-reach place. Labeling helps in finding items easily. At the end of setting things in order, everyone among the staff should be in a position to answer “Where can I find ___ item? “ Label the cabinets with the things they contain. Records should be maintained about how often the things are being used. If the things are not being used regularly, they can be moved away. It should be repeated on 3-4 week basis regularly. The things unnecessary in one department may be of use in other. So, maintain an organizational level control system to collect all the waste & decided its disposal. If required in other department, they can be reused there or else disposed/sold.
- Shine: Swipe and clean the area. This is not a one-day process, and should be done on a daily basis. Clean both inside and outside the work area before starting and ending the day at work place. It indirectly helps in checking office items, machinery, and tools present. It is not only about cleaning but also about taking preventive steps to keep work area from messing up and gathering dust.
- Standardize: This procedure follows the order of sorting items, setting them in easily accessible place, and Shine them daily for maintenance. It involves pasting posters with guidelines, motivating everyone to follow the above 3S in order. Proper execution of this step is achieved only when the 3S turns into a natural behavior of all the employees in the work area. Define what the environment should be like, 5S importance and standardize it. Use posters for infusing the message into employees.
For proper execution of the standardization step, we can create healthy competitions between departments. If there is any heavy machinery, assign its maintenance to someone and inspect regularly. Create a 5S schedule and implement it.
- Sustain: Its goal is to train and discipline the workforce to follow the above steps as an integral part of work and using it for solving root causes of arising problems.
5S in Action
Effect on Employees:
Employees feel great about their work environment that increases their work efficiency. After seeing and experiencing the positive effects of 5S in their organization, the employees would surely implement the strategy in their homes to bring positive change in society.
Effect on Organization:
Regular implementation of 5S results is less wastage, efficient and happy workforce. It results in all round development of organizations. It reduces the square footage space by elimination of waste and reduces storage and lightings costs.
Effect on Society:
Organizations implementing and influencing employees, happy employees implementing it in their homes, spreading it in the society for a better tomorrow.
Application of 5S
5S technique is used in workplaces to result in improved productivity, quality, optimization, safety, and healthy work environment. It can be used anywhere by anyone, from a small shop to a Fortune 500 company, from home to school, from workstations to accounts and clerical sections.
5S Products for guidance:
- There are 5S DVDs available that can help in training the employees.
- To make training into an interesting and fun session for kids one can use 5S games.
- 5S posters help in standardizing 5S and sinking of message into them.
- 5S books and eBook are also available
- 5S pocket guides are handy quick references and reminders, which can be carried by anyone with scheduled sorting, setting order, and machinery maintenance checking dates. They are available in book forms and eBook forms.
For proper execution of 5S and in order to obtain great results, individuals in the organization should practice it regularly irrespective of their role, responsibility, and title. 5S is not a tool, it is a good culture to cultivate and make it a way of leading life. 5S when implemented increases productivity, efficiency, quality, cost-effectiveness, safety and builds a good customer base.