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5S: Managing Efficiency on the Shop Floor

written by: R.P.Orticio • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 12/15/2010

For faster, easier, better and cost-effective work, use 5S. Before failures, breakdowns and delays happen, 5S sets necessary preventive measures in place.

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    5S and Good Housekeeping

    5S Housekeeping Managing efficiency in work areas is important to business in more ways than one. The management, care, and servicing of facilities and equipment need careful attention and thorough implementation to achieve desired results. Delays due to downtime, readjustment, and setup are common occurrences during machine failures and breakdowns.

    Process errors and rejects pile up when tools, materials and dirt clutter. Appearing to be always new types of trouble, recurring lapses in doing work remain unchecked. Poorly labeled or unlabeled equipment, gadgets, parts and fixtures are often misused and inadvertently used, holding up work and increasing cost. And the litany of hitches and predicaments in the factory or shop floor soars, as long as good housekeeping is not in place.

    Image Credit: morgueFile.com/dave

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    What is 5S?

    A proven method in carrying out proper maintenance and upkeep of machines and facilities, 5S utilizes five keywords of process activities in Japanese starting with letter S namely: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke which in English mean: Sort, Systematize, Sweep, Standardize, and Self-Discipline respectively. These keywords when put into action make work, easier, faster, better and cost-effective. In brief, the five keywords are:

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    Seiri: Sort

    Unnecessary materials when mixed with needed ones result to delay and poor work. To avoid this, segregation of necessary from unnecessary items is a must.

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    Seiton: Systematize

    To systematize or organize means making tools, gadgets, implements, equipment, supplies and almost everything required for work easily accessible. Not only in accessing, but equally important is in the right way of returning them.

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    Seiso: Sweep

    Cleaning should not only be the responsibility of the janitor but of everyone at work. If every worker will take part in the cleaning the surroundings before and after work, potential causes of problems in the process line can be easily spotted and resolved. Checking and cleaning are done hand in hand, because possible sources of failures in the machines and equipment can be controlled.

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    Seiketsu: Standardize

    Standardizing the best practices of doing the first three S's provides an excellent template in doing work well. Hence, it is vital that sorting, organizing and cleaning be inculcated among workers to come up with the best way of doing things.

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    Shitsuke: Self Discipline

    To sustain 5S, both managers and workers need training to acquire the necessary discipline. Training is one of the powerful motivations that drive every employee to work productively. A daily five minute 5S before and after work would be a wholesome routine that gives one pride as a company man.

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    The above rundown is an introduction to effective management of good housekeeping in the work place. A more detailed discussion of every process keyword will be provided in the next articles. What is important now is that, there is a simple management tool to calibrate and implement effective preventive maintenance in any establishment involving man, machine, and materials. Before failure, breakdown and delay happen, proactive measures are already all set.

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    Working smart, not hard everyone using 5S can actively and harmoniously take part in making the work environment clean, orderly, and shiny—as well as more efficient and productive.

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    References

    http://www.siliconfareast.com/5S.htm

    http://www.apo-tokyo.org/cgi/apo_p-glossary.pl?record=2