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The 5S Methodology is a process whereby quality is assured through intense organization. This concept, used widely by Toyota Motor Corporation, is based on five Japanese “housekeeping" words, here translated to English:
- Seiri – Sort
- Seiton – Set In Order
- Seiso – Shine
- Seiketsu – Standardizing
- Shitsuke – Sustain
These housekeeping words set the guidelines for the 5S Methodology, especially when the methodology is used to improve or streamline workplace or project processes. Everyone has a co-worker whose office is a mess where nothing can be found and the person is totally unorganized. With 5S, organization is key in successful operations. Along with streamlined processes comes the need for monitoring and the use of a 5S check sheet.
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The 5S Monitoring Process
The 5S check list is a way to audit and sustain organized processes within production. To help guide you on 5S, you can download this Microsoft Excel 5S Check Sheet, and also an in-depth 5S Implementation Plan that discusses the methodology. The implementation plan offers helpful tips and tools for anyone interested in the 5S process.
The auditing or monitoring process is necessary in 5S as it pertains to standardizing and sustaining. A good 5S check sheet like the one found here grades each housekeeping area to help ensure the process stays organized.
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What’s Included in the 5S Audit Check List?
Because the 5S Methodology relies on organized, standard practices and processes to improve and sustain quality in production, the 5S check sheet divides each of the housekeeping stages that are graded from zero to four, with zero being unacceptable and four meaning outstanding or perfect.
Click on the image to the right to see an example of a 5S check sheet and you’ll see that to the right on the chart, the first column lists action items. Column headings include the five housekeeping items of 5S--sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain. For each action item, the auditor who analyzes the 5S process can grade each item to determine a score. In this 5S check sheet, a perfect score would be 280 if all action items were given the highest mark of a four.
A substandard 5S process would show a much lower score. However, because the 5S audit check quickly identifies the areas that need improvement, the 5S auditor can pass on the information to the 5S leader, usually top management.
Upon receipt of the 5S audit check sheet, the leaders of the process are then able to determine if additional steps, tools or methods are needed to sustain the production process.
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The Ability to Red-Tag Processes
The 5S process depends upon constant monitoring and evaluating much like Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma. An important part of the 5S audit is the ability for the auditor to red tag certain items that are unacceptable or substandard.
Once red-tagged items are corrected, a continual 5S audit check sheet will not only show improvement but 5S leaders will actually be able to see the improved production process, unlike some other quality improvement methodologies that utilize more intense methods of analyzing quality.
If you’re thinking of implementing 5S in your workplace for products, services or manufacturing, take advantage of the tools found in Bright Hub PM including the sample 5S check sheet. Your should next read this article on how to write a 5S Mission Statement.