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5S - Introduction

5s_01    Modern management in the company is not only the quality management system based on the ISO series 9000:2000 standards, but pursuit  to  the  continuous improvement,  so  this  is  the philosophy of the Total Quality Management .

In  the  frames  of  implementation  of  the  Total  Quality Management  on  the  operating level  more  and  more  popular becomes the idea of so called 5S.

The 5S method begins each program of improvement. It is the  tool  for  helping  the  analysis  of  processes  running  on  the workplace. The 5S  is  the methodology  of  creation  and maintaining well organized, clean, high effective and high quality workplace.  Its result is  the  effective  organization  of  the

workplace,  reduction  of  work’s environment,  elimination  of losses  connected  with  failures  and  breaks,  improvement  of  the quality and safety of work.

The philosophy of the 5S has its roots in Japan. Name 5S is the acronym of five Japanese words of the following meanings:

Ø Seiri (sort),

Ø Seiton (set in order),

Ø Seiso (shine),

Ø Seiketsu (standardize),

Ø Shitsuke (sustain).


  Seiri (sorting, organization of the workplace, elimination of unnecessary materials).  Refers  to  the  practice  of  sorting through  all  the  tools,  materials, etc.,  in  the  work  area  and keeping  only  essential  items.  Everything else is  stored  or discarded.  This leads to  fewer  hazards  and  less  clutter  to interfere with productive work.

   Seiton (set in order, place for everything).  Focuses on the need for the  workplace  in  order.  Tools, equipment, and materials must be systematically arranged for the easiest and the most  efficient  access.  There must  be  a  place  for everything, and everything must be in its place.

   Seiso (shine,  cleaning,  removing  of  wastes,  dust  etc.). Indicates  the  need  to  keep  the  workplace  clean  as  well  as neat. Cleaning in Japanese companies is a daily activity. At the  end  of  each  shift,  the  work  area  is  cleaned  up  and everything is restored to its place.

  Seiketsu  (standardize,  constant  place  for  things,  constant rules of organization, storage and keeping cleanness). Allows for  control  and  consistency. Basic  housekeeping  standards apply  everywhere  in  the  facility.  Everyone  knows  exactly what his or her responsibilities are. Housekeeping duties are part of regular work routines.

  Shitsuke (sustain, automatic realization of above-mentioned rules).  Refers  to  maintaining  standards  and  keeping  the facility  in  safe  and  efficient  order  day  after  day,  year  after year. Implementing  the  5S  rules  should  begin  from  trainings  of productive  workers  in  the  range of  the  5S’s  elements  and advantages from their usage. It is important that all participants of trainings  will  understand  the  need  of  using  the  5S  rules  on  the own workplace and will agree on the changes. During trainings it is essential to train the usage of all rules on the clear example, so that every  participant  can  understand  the  methodology  of realization of the 5S’s elements. Very important fact is that these rules do not refer only to the productive positions, but also refer to the warehouse, office positions and others.

Main goals of 5S

The main purpose of a program based on 5S Method is the maintenance of the workplace order, in order to it stays always organized, arranged and cleaned, under standard conditions and with the necessary discipline for getting the best performance in the activities of each person, due to be also performed in the particular life of each person.5s_02

The main benefits of the 5S program are:

1. More productivity for decreasing of waste of time seeking by objects. It is only in the environment the objects necessaries to the work.

2. Decreasing of expenses and better exploitation of materials. The excessive accumulation of materials tends to the degeneration and creates waste.

3. Improvement of the quality of products and services.

4. More discipline

5. Less risks of occupational accidents.

6. More satisfaction of people with the job.

5S has little to do with creating a clean and tidy work area where everything is neat, near-by, and easy and fast to get to. That is indeed what you see when you have a great 5S workplace, but that is not what 5S is for.

5S is to there to help you do masterly work. Its purpose is to help people do perfect work every time.

5S is really about:

  • Preventing mistakes that ruin a job and makes scrap and rework
  • Making sure equipment is reliable and works properly to make a perfect item every time
  • Removing and preventing useless variation in work activities and machine performance
  • Delivering exact quality products and service ever more quickly
  • Keeping people and plant safe from hazards and harm

Actually, that is what every business wants. To achieve those vital performance benefits it just happens that you need to Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardise and Sustain in order to create the right workplace situation that will deliver the competitive performance a business needs.

So do not tell your people that 5S is only about workplace management and cleanliness; rather teach them that through their personal workplace practices they set themselves up to do great work. By doing great work they will build a competitive company and thereby secure their future.

They will help build a world-class operation whose products or service will attract new customers and keep them in jobs. If they use 5S well they will be creating work security for themselves and building a safer, happier work environment where people make a top-quality product every time. 5S is not about being clean, tidy and neat; it is about always doing excellent quality work your customers love. To do that well you need to be clean, tidy and neat!

In order to get that awareness into your people run a small pilot project where 5S is used in the workplace. Let them see that 5S works to turn disorganized, messy work into a highly efficient and effective operation.

Get your people to experience and see the effects of the pilot 5S improvement project in several ways, e.g. show it on graphs and charts on a communication board; get the guys in the 5S pilot trial to do tool box talks to the others about what they have learned, and the problems that they solved; let people go and see what the people in the pilot trial are doing, etc.

It is important for your people to know that working in 5S teams will be positive, where open discussion develops amongst its members and people get friendly and supportive assistance from each other. The pilot team applies 5S by doing it. They and everyone in the operation immediately gets feedback on how well that worked through the measurements, and by seeing the effectiveness of the 5S improvement efforts for themselves. Once your people see that 5S workplace management works, they will want to do 5S too.