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What Is 5S?

5S organizes individual workstations or departments. The objective of 5S is to increase efficiency at the micro-level by keeping the workplace neat, orderly and accessible. The results are visually dramatic and also increase pride and morale. Visual ontrol uses visual !and other sensory devices" to guide everyday decisions such as #$hen should % cross this street&.# onceptually, Visual ontrol is not the same as 5S but the two ideas are closely linked and often used together. The table below summarizes the five elements. 'ost elements are straightforward and self e(planatory. The five words are a convenient mnemonic device. They derive from e)uivalent *apanese words which also start with an #S#. +ach, however, involves much more than the word alone implies. lick on each word for more detail. Sort through and sort out junk, seldom-used items and necessary items. 1 Sort 2 " & 5

Shine Set Standardi'e Sustain

lean and !aint and clean regularly. Set locations# use $oundaries % addresses to assure recoil. (efine and standardi'e )ork !rocesses, 5S activities and tasks. *ake 5S a )ay of life, institutionali'ed in the organi'ation. ! lick on titles for more..."

There are many variations of 5S, mostly of minor importance,, for e(ample, different translations of the original *apanese. The e(tent of the organization effort also varies. Some versions are little more than a cleanup while others involve time and motion studies or layout. Safety is often included as a step to eliminate unsafe conditions and enhances awareness.

What (oes 5S +ccom!lish?


5S improves efficiency at the micro,level. %t can eliminate searching for tools, for e(ample. %t may eliminate wasted steps or long reaches that are ergonomically hazardous. Since workers themselves analyze and rearrange their own workplace, it forces each worker to think about their activities. %t develops the #-aizen 'ind.# .or more on the possible range of improvements in safety, absenteeism, productivity, space and wasted motion, see The /ayoff from 5S.

,o) -o Im!lement 5S
%n our view, initial implementation should be fast and simple with a bias for action. Strategos offers -aizen events that can e(ecute an initial implementation in one or two days with significant results. 0dvanced techni)ues and refinement then comes in a second phase several months later. !'ore..."

When -o Im!lement 5S
This is a point for debate. 'any firms start their 1ean *ourney with 5S. Setting implementation priorities involves many factors. %t may be best to start with an element having faster and more verifiable savings. The other side argues that, initially, 5S can be relatively easy to implement and has direct benefits. 'oreover, it establishes a standard of discipline that begins the cultural change necessary for other elements of 1ean 'anufacturing.

2ltimately, there are many paths to 1ean and it is probably more important to just start then it is to find the #correct# path.

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