In any factory, office or retail environment, 5S can play such a big part towards improving your company. It is an absolute necessity in any lean manufacturing facility. You should gain improvements in quality, productivity, safety, efficiency and morale once you implement. It has been referred to by different names in North America, however it holds the same basic concept; a place for everything and everything in it’s place. It is a system designed to make your job easier, through organization, when done correctly.

The 5S Stages

As the name implies, there are five distinct stages to this system. The stages are:

1. Clearing (or Seiri in Japanese)

2. Organizing (or Seiton in Japanese)

3. Cleaning (or Seiso in Japanese)

4. Standardizaton (or Seiketsu in Japanese)

5. Discipline & Training (or Shitsuke in Japanese)

As each stage is completed, it makes the need for the next stage more apparent. For example, once the clearing is done and the excess clutter removed, the remaining material can be organized in an appropriate location. When that step is completed, the cleaning can begin.

Where to Begin

Many companies will start using this system with the “intention” of carrying it through, however they stop after the first or second steps. Although completing stages 1, 2 and 3 will help you see the gains mentioned at the beginning of this page, if you don’t proceed to standardize and practice the discipline necessary to maintain the system, you will soon find yourself back where you started.

I suggest focusing on a small area as your model area for others in the company to view and learn from. Once people see the idea behind this system and how effective it can be, it will be easier to get them on board.

Don’t forget, this system is not only for factory use, it is also recommended for office, desk and even home use.The best way to get started is to have some guidance. To view a reasonably priced option for guiding you through the implementation process Click Here!