Craftsman's Cribsheet Number 75: A Shop Guide to 5-S

5-S is a standardized process for developing and maintaining an organized, safe, clean and high-performance work environment.

5-S is a standardized process for developing and maintaining an organized, safe, clean and high-performance work environment. The primary objective of 5-S is to instill order and standardization into the production system. This facilitates “visual management,” or management by sight.

Defining the 5-Ss

The 5-Ss are organization, arrangement, cleanliness, standardization and discipline. The 5-Ss are important because, directly or indirectly, they reduce or eliminate most of the eight kinds of waste:

  1. Overproduction
  2. Waiting
  3. Unnecessary transport
  4. Overprocessing
  5. Excess inventory
  6. Unnecessary movement
  7. Defects
  8. Unused employee creativity

Sort (Organization)

The idea of an organization is to discard everything that is not essential. One way to accomplish this is to remove everything from the area and put back only essential items. This is one of the hardest of the 5-Ss to achieve. Sometimes a person outside the area is needed to ask factual questions and discard non-essential items.

Key question: Why is this here?

Straighten (Arrangement)

Now that all the non-essential items have been removed, the remaining items must be assigned a specific location. Locations are marked with paint, signs, color codes or colored squares. This is an arrangement. However, an arrangement can also mean assigning specific locations on items, such as those on bulletin boards.

Key question: Is this the best place for this to minimize operator movement and confusion?

Sweep (Cleanliness)

Cleanliness means more than sweeping the floor and wiping down machines. It means cleaning everything, inside and out. When a cleanliness issue occurs, such as an oil leak, look for the root cause.

Key question: Is it cleaner now than when you started working here?

Standardize (Standardization)

Standardization is about setting up systems that are recognized and followed by everyone as part of the culture. Standardization includes performing a job the same way each time, assigning standard color codes, displaying standard signs and even holding meetings with standard agendas.

Key question: Is there a process?

Sustain (Discipline)

Discipline is the glue that holds all the other Ss together. The discipline to follow the other 4-Ss must become a mindset.

Key question: Is the process being followed? Is it still effective?

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