5S  Visual  Workplace  Organization

Lean 5S Visual Workplace Organization is a workplace organization methodology to improve productivity, by eliminating waste, and Quality, by reducing variation.

The 5S Visual Workplace Organization methodology also facilitates a structured dialog about standardization which builds a clear understanding between employees, of how work should be done. This structured approach can be used in any manufacturing, distribution, or office environment and in all types of industries.

5S Visual Workplace Organization is often the first step toward implementing a lean-based Operational Excellence initiative, as it reduces waste due to internal transportation, motion, and waiting, and builds a solid foundation for the implementation of flow production, visual management, and standard operations.

5S Definition Article

The 5S's stem from five Japanese words: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. Commonly translated as Sort, Set-in-Order or Simplify Access, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

Some Critical Success Factors for an effective 5S Visual Workplace Organization implementation are:

  • Have a Plan !!!
  • Leadership Drive it from the top and Walk the Talk
  • Employee Involvement – Establish 5S Action Teams and each shift should end their day with area housekeeping
  • Focus Establish 5S Focus Areas with employee ownership
  • No Sacred Cows – 5s is not just about the production floor. Include warehouses, supply closets, office desks, …
  • Organize & Beautify – Paint is an inexpensive and terrific tool for supporting a 5S implementation
  • Accountability Hold teams accountable to area requirements
  • Evaluate & Improve – Perform weekly audits with 5S Team Leaders in each focus area. Post scores
  • Make it Fun and Celebrate Progress

While the implementation of a 5S Visual Workplace initiative needs to be customized to the specific objectives, requirements, and circumstances of an organization, most implementations follow a six-step process.

Step 1 - Establish a 5S Implementation Organization

The 5S Implementation Team training, 5S standardization, guidance in 5S techniques, and provision of 5S tools. The main purpose of a 5S Campaign is not so much to announce the beginning of the 5S Campaign as it is to show the enthusiasm and commitment of the 5S Leader.

The 5S Leader heads the 5S Implementation Team.

The 5S Audit Team makes weekly inspection tours to check up on 5S conditions and suggest & document remedial measures when conditions have begun to deteriorate.

The 5S Action Team, which consists of workshop leaders and ordinary employees, is responsible for the nuts and bolts of 5S implementation. The team members study 5S theory while putting it into practice in making 5S-oriented improvements.

Step 2 - Establish a 5S Implementation Plan

The main purpose of a 5S Campaign is not so much to announce the beginning of the 5S Campaign as it is to show the enthusiasm and commitment of 5S Leaders. The 5S Leaders should address the organization’s current conditions, its goals, and its plan to use the 5S initiative to lay a foundation for achieving those goals. A 5S Implementation Plan should cover 90 days at a time.

Step 3 - Create 5S Campaign Material

5S Campaign Materials could include face-to-face meetings, newsletters, slogans, boards, posters, banners, badges, 5S news, photo exhibits of before and after, … .

Step 4 - In-House Education

5S Education Materials could include training classes, single-point 5S lessons, on-the-job training, posters, in-house bulletins, 5S news, videos, books, … .

  • Make education continuous
  • Don’t be a perfectionist, but strive for perfection
  • The primary place for 5S implementation is the individual workplace
  • Encourage independent thinking
  • Encourage motivation, skill-building, and participation
  • Make it relevant, specific, and engaging

Step 5.1 - Sort (Seiri)

Sort is the first step in the 5S Process and involves the meticulous examination of everything in the work environment. All extemporaneous materials or anything unrelated to the workplace is removed from the area. By removing clutter and unnecessary debris, 5S eliminates hazards in the workspace. The separation of frequently used tools from rarely used items streamlines work to create faster, leaner, and safer working conditions.

Step 5.2 - Set-in-Order, Straighten or Simplify Access (Seiton)

Set-in-Order, the second step in the 5S Process, consists of putting everything in an assigned area so it can be used and returned as quickly and safely as possible. Commonly used tools should be easily accessible, saving both time and effort.

Step 5.3 - Shine (Seiso)

Shine, the third step in the 5S Process, focuses on the cleanliness of the working environment to create a clean and neat workspace. Maintenance and cleanliness become part of the everyday working routine to increase both workplace safety and longevity of tools and equipment. Shine focuses on not simply cleaning the working environment once, but keeping it clean every day to maintain the facility and equipment long term.

Step 5.4 - Standardize (Seiketsu)

Once the first 3S’s have been implemented, Standardize, the fourth step in the 5S Process, creates a consistent approach with which tasks and procedures are performed. 5S-related duties, 5-Minutes 5S periods, cycle charts, visual cues, and checklists are integrated into regular work duties to maintain the improvements achieved through the first 3S’s.

Step 6 - Sustain (Shitsuke)

Sustain, the last and often most difficult step in the 5S Process ensures that the 5S approach develops deep roots in the organization and becomes a vital part of the organization’s Operational Excellence initiative. The implementation of 5S champions and coordinators, team-based auditing, and active participation in the ongoing 5S Visual Workplace Organization Kaizen Event is essential to change entrenched behaviors and define a new status quo.

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