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5S is the name of a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. Transliterated into English, they all start with the letter "S". The list describes how to organize a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new order. The decision-making process usually comes from a dialogue about standardization, which builds understanding among employees of how they should do the work.
The 5 S
There are five 5S phases: They can be translated from the Japanese as "sort", "straighten", "shine", "standardise", and "sustain". Other translations are possible.
- keeping only necessary items
- Remove unnecessary items and dispose of them properly
- Make work easier by eliminating obstacles.
- Reduce chance of being disturbed with unnecessary items
- Prevent accumulation of unnecessary items
- Evaluate necessary items with regard to cost or other factors
- Remove all parts not in use
- Segregate unwanted material from the workplace
- Need fully skilled supervisor for checking on regular basis
- Don't put unnecessary items at the workplace & define a red-tagged area to keep those unnecessary items
整頓 (Systematic Arrangement)
- Can also be translated as "set in order", "straighten", or "streamline"
- Arrange all necessary items so they can be easily selected for use
- Prevent loss and waste of time
- Make it easy to find and pick up necessary items
- Ensure first-come-first-served basis
- Make workflow smooth and easy
- All above work should be done on regular basis
- Can also be translated as "sweep", "sanitize", or "scrub"
- Clean your workplace completely
- Use cleaning as inspection
- Prevent machinery and equipment deterioration
- Keep workplace safe and easy to work
- Keep work place clean
- Standardize the best practices in the work area.
- Maintain high standards of housekeeping and workplace organization at all times.
- Maintain orderliness. Maintain everything in order and according to its standard.
- Everything in its right place.
- Every process has a standard.
- To keep in working order
- Also translates as "do without being told"
- Perform regular audits
- Training and Discipline
- Training is goal oriented process. Its resulting feedback is necessary monthly
Other phases are sometimes included e.g., safety, security, and satisfaction. These however do not form a traditional set of "phases" as the additions of these extra steps are simply to clarify the benefits of 5S and not a different or more inclusive methodology.
The phrase "Safety" is sometimes added. There is debate over whether including this sixth "S" promotes safety by stating this value explicitly, or if a comprehensive safety program is undermined when it is relegated to a single item in an efficiency-focused business methodology.
The phrase "Security" can also be added. To leverage security as an investment rather than an expense, the seventh "S" identifies and addresses risks to key business categories including Fixed assets, material, human capital, brand equity, intellectual property, information technology, assets-in-transit and the extended supply chain. Techniques are adapted from those detailed in Total security management (TSM) or the business practice of developing and implementing comprehensive risk management and security practices for a firm’s entire value chain.
The Origins of 5S
Two major frameworks for understanding and applying 5S to business environments have arisen, one proposed by Osada, the other by Hirano. Hirano provided a structure for improvement programs with a series of identifiable steps, each building on its predecessor. As noted by John Bicheno, Toyota's adoption of the Hirano approach was '4S', with Seiton and Seiso combined.
Variety of 5S Applications
5S is now being applied to a wide variety of industries. It has expanded from manufacturing to health care, education, government, and many other industires. Although the origins of the 5S methodology are in manufacturing, it can also be applied to knowledge-economy work, with information, software, or media in the place of physical product. Some examples of present day companies that are using 5S methodology are Infineon technologies and Nonin Medical.
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