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5S Method

Expose visible examples of waste and establish a framework and disciplined approach to develop improvement initiatives.

What is 5S Method?
The 5S Method is used to expose visible examples of waste and establish a framework and disciplined approach to develop improvement initiatives. This method is a widely adopted, foundational concept for establishing operational stability. The name 5S references an organization’s effort to sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. The primary objective of 5S is to create a clean, orderly environment. Many organizations begin performance improvement transformation with 5S because it exposes some of the most visible examples of waste while establishing the framework and discipline required to successfully pursue other continuous improvement initiatives.

  • Sort: Eliminate any obstacles that get in the way of production. Remove any unneeded items, put items away, and make sure the right people are performing the right jobs.
  • Set in Order: Arrange items so that they are located where they are needed. Reducing or eliminating the need for employees to walk to another area to get a tool, for example, will help prevent wasted time and effort.
  • Shine: Clean workplaces are much more efficient. In addition, clean tools and machines last longer and cause fewer issues during operation.
  • Standardize: Setting standards for how work should be done will reduce errors and improve efficiency. While standards can be improved upon, having everyone operating in the same way will help increase productivity.
  • Sustain: Make sure any improvements implemented will be effective long into the future. Performing audits and inspections can help sustain the improvements gained through the previous four steps (sort, set in order, shine, and standardize).

How do I apply 5S Method?
  1. Establish team of people to lead the effort. The 5S implementation team should consist of people from all levels of the organization. One individual on the team should be responsible for notating findings.
  2. Establish base line of how things are done within the organization by walking the floor and identifying the current state.
  3. Develop questionnaire based on the 5S Method with questions within each section. Each question should correspond to a score (0 or 1) to dictate yes or no.
  4. Gather information on current issues and notate within the created document what is discovered. Give each identified issue a score based on the rating scale created. This is for rating and establishing a base level for what is discovered when the team goes to the floor to look at the process that needs improving. Questions that correspond with 0 should be the focus ahead of those that were scored 1.
  5. As a team, brainstorm ways to mitigate these challenges with solutions.
  6. Start with simple fixes to build momentum and utilize the 5 S’s (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain) to implement these fixes.