“If you can do 5S, you can do anything. The company that can do well with the 5S’s can also do well with all the other practices. The company that cannot even implement the basic 5S’s, will not be able to do any of the other things required of a competitive organization”
Takashi Osada in his book The 5S, Five keys to a Total Quality Management.
- 5s is methodology popularized by Japan. It is an acronym for five Japanese words Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke.
- The origin of 5S can be traced back to Henry Ford’s CANDO programme around 1920s. CANDO is an acronym for Clearing, Arranging, Neatness, Discipline and Ongoing improvements. CANDO is translated to Japanese by engineers from Japanese Management Association – JMA. Order of sequence of CANDO and 5S changes marginally.
- Once an organization determines to implement 5S, before starting to implement 5S, there is ground work needed.
Seven Steps Business Transformation System has failitated implementation of 5S as an organization wide initiative. Based on our combined experience of over 200 years and being in the field of 5S training and consulting for over 25 years, we have lead effective transformation of organization through 5S.
Our Seven Steps methodology for 5S implementation is as below
- Have Top management involvement and commitment right from beginning. We have come across organizations where founders/chairman level members are committed to implement 5S. However, the local leaders of plant levels work in daily fire-fighting mode and give least important to 5S. Fully commitment of Top management and local leaders are one of the first pre-requisites for 5S implementation to start.
- A steering team with 5S organization structure is highly beneficial: Without 5S structure,effectiveness for 5S implementation will be very less. Having one champion to lead 5S for entire organization is also not found to be very effective.
- Awareness of benefits of 5S is the key. This can be done only through training to 100 %of the members associated with the company. Right from top management, housekeeping, canteen, security. None to be left.
- Use 5S implementation to create a good culture and team work. Any implementation should be done through organization level instead of isolated areas. When everyone works together for a common cause of maintaining workplace, trust and team work is created. This paves way for good organization culture. Seven Steps methodology of 5S implementation recommend focused implementation for minimum two days and up to 5days of rapid improvements workshop.
- Sequence of implementation for best result is important. Before even attempting to start 1S activity, there should be standard from 4S level which is accepted and approved RED TAG strategy. This is the basis for starting 1S. What item is needed, how much is needed should be known. Without this, no sorting/clearing happens. Every zone leader thinks that they will need everything stored in the absence of approved RED tag strategy. Once we start with 1S, taking decision on RED tagged items within specified time line is very important. Else, all the items will come back to the respective zones.
- Once 1S is done thoroughly, instead of jumping to 2S, it is important to focus on 3S through deep cleaning of the work place. It gives feel good factor for doing proper 2S.
- Before start of 2S, creating standards for labelling which also specifies what font to use, what size of font to use etc., to that extent of micro details. Else, each zone will have their own way of labelling and doing 2S which defeats the purpose of orderliness.
- Standardizing through 4S manual is the next step which will help in maintaining the first 3S.
- Ongoing improvement through Sustenance methods in the form of weekly self-audits for each zone and monthly organization wide audits will be effective.
Related Article– Implementation of Applied 5S in Service Organisations
Understanding the 5S methodology is one of the basic foundations of Six Sigma certifications and principles, and can be extremely beneficial for organizations of all kinds of growth.
Related Article– How to implement 5S and safety improvements in organisations
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