5S is a foundation for more disciplined actions. It enhances housekeeping but it is not housekeeping. 5S must be a team effort and the results must enable anyone to “tell at a glance” what is right and what is out of place. It also must make doing the work easier.
The benefits of 5S are:
- Cleaner and safer work areas—when a work area is clean and organized tripping hazards and other dangers are eliminated
- Less wasted time through more workplace organization—when tools and materials are accessible and orderly, workers need less time to “go get” and less time to search
- Less space—when unneeded items are eliminated and the needed ones are organized, required floor space is dramatically reduced
- Improved self-discipline—the 5S system, especially its visual nature, makes abnormal conditions noticeable and makes ignoring standards more difficult
- Improved culture—when 5S is applied systematically, it fosters better teamwork and enthusiasm
- People like to work in a well-organized and clean environment
They feel better about themselves and better about their work, and they restore the self-discipline that is found in winning teams. The first stage of 5S is to organize the work area, leaving only the tools and materials necessary to perform daily activities. When “sorting” is well implemented, communication between workers is improved and product quality and
productivity is increased.
The second stage of 5S involves the orderly arrangement of needed items so they are easy to use and accessible for “anyone” to find. Orderliness eliminates waste in production and clerical activities.
The third stage of 5S is keeping everything clean and swept. This maintains a safer work area and problem areas are quickly identified. An important part of “shining” is “Mess Prevention.” In other words, don’t allow litter, scrap, shavings, cuttings, etc., to land on the floor in the first place.
The fourth stage of 5S involves creating a consistent approach for carrying out tasks and procedures. Orderliness is the core of “standardization” and is maintained by Visual Controls.
This last stage of 5S is the discipline and commitment of all other stages. Without “sustaining,” your workplace can easily revert back to being dirty and chaotic. That is why it is so crucial for your team to be empowered to improve and maintain their workplace. When employees take pride in their work and workplace it can lead to greater job satisfaction and higher productivity.