5S Methodology – Going the Lean Way


With the rapidly changing economy, small and medium-sized enterprises are regularly adjusting their preset resources to merge them with their business strategy. Therefore, to remain ahead of the curve, ventures must reduce waste, use the manpower efficiently and become more competent to increase ROI.

One of the most efficient ways to achieve this is by using the 5S methodology, where the 5S stands for:

  • Sort
  • Straighten
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

When the 5S methodology is properly implemented, it improves the organization and creates an efficient workplace. Rather than a system, the 5S principle is considered as an enterprise philosophy.

The Importance of the 5S Methodology

There are various reasons why implementing 5S strategy is beneficial for your business. In today’s cut-throat competition, it has become vital for ventures to control the overall cost and avoid waste.

When implemented properly, the 5S methodology helps identify and reduce any kind of waste at the workstation. An organized work place reduces time and excessive motion looking for the right tool to do the job. Therefore, companies implementing 5S Principle as a part of Lean initiative improve work quality, reduce waste, promote safety and works together for continuous improvement.

Implementation of 5S Strategy in your Work Culture

Sort (Seiri)

The 5S strategy begins with sorting. During this step, the team leader must go through every object present in the work area and review them with his team.

  1. Prevents accumulation of non-essential items.
  2. Makes it easy to identify and separates the essentials for everyday use from non-essential items.
  3. Remove all the unnecessary items not regularly used.
  4. Define the Red-Tag areas to put iteams that cannot be disposed of immediately.

Straighten (Seiton)

Straighten is to put necessary items at their respective place for easy access. This step put necessary items in order and focuses on effective storage method.

  1. All items are perfectly arranged to make their selection easier.
  2. It ensures FIFO (First-In-First-Out) order thus preventing time and resource wastage.
  3. All the important tools and equipment are in proximity.
  4. All the essential items are labeled.
  5.  Workflow becomes easy and smooth.

Shine (Seiton)

Shine involves cleaning everything and using this aspect to inspect defects in equipment or system, such as lubricant leak, non-working systems or processes. The purpose of this step is to improve overall operator efficiency.

  1. Set cleaning frequency or choose to clean the place on everyday basis.
  2. It keeps workplace safe to use.
  3. Cleaning can be used as inspection.
  4. A person not familiar with the work-space should easily identify any problem with equipment within 50 feet.

Standardize (Seiketsu)

Standardize is considered as the most significant step of the process because a standard is maintained during this step by which previously-stated 5S steps are calculated.

  1. It is the best practice in the work space.
  2. Everything is kept in its place.
  3. Maintain high workplace standards.
  4. Every process works with a standard.

Sustain (Shitsuke)

The 5S methodology is a sustained activity and must be incorporated into the work culture. An enterprise must make every effort to put together the 5S strategy as a part of the business process in order to reap benefit from it.

  1. It translates to “performing the steps without being told”.
  2. Proper order maintenance.
  3. Discipline and training.
  4. Following the process and maintaining order.
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