Lean manufacturing is one of the most well-known production system in facilities and is important to any successful manufacturer. 5S is a set of principles that reduce waste and drastically improve productivity by maintaining an orderly workplace to achieve more consistent operational results. It is typically the first lean manufacturing tool that companies implement, thus it prioritizes organizations, “cleans up” and organizes the workplace to improve overall results.

This Japanese term stands for Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke, which are translated to Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain provide a methodology for organizing, cleaning, developing and maintaining a productive work environment.

Routines that maintain organization and order in the day-to-day work of a company are essential to the efficient flow of activities. By implementing this lean method, manufacturers will greatly save time and avoid unnecessary waste by reorganizing the entire workplace to speed up daily tasks.

A typical 5S implementation results in considerable reductions in the square footage of the area required for existing operations. It provides the basis on which other lean methods such as TPM, cellular manufacturing, just-in-time manufacturing and six sigma can be applied.

The Five S’s of 5S in Lean Manufacturing

1. Seiri (Sort)

The first step in 5S is Sort. Start by removing all unnecessary materials should from the work area. Examine the equipment and identify items critical to the function performed at the workstation.  The first step also entails the removal of tools, equipment and materials from the workplace that aren’t necessary for the moment, workers either move them to storage areas or discard them.

2. Seiton (Set)

The second step in the 5S process is Set in Order or Set brings purpose to the work area. Whatever equipment or item is deemed critical to the operation should be organized. All workers should understand arrangements and locations for easy retrieval and item return, while doing this they should keep in mind to identify where these items will go, while also making them easily accessible. The goal is to maximize efficiency in the work environment. The most frequently used items should be the most convenient to take.

3.  Shine (Seiso)

After the objects have been sorted and transferred to their designated places, the third step in 5S comes. The third “S” refers to cleanliness. A clean workplace means a productive workplace, and Seiso directly means “to clean or shine.” It ensures that the workplace should be free of any dirt and defects. Workers should make sure the workplace is well-lit. Cleaning and maintenance should be performed regularly and not be postponed.

4.  Standardize (Seiketsu)

The previous three S’s should be addressed to maintain a clean, orderly workplace each day. Standardization could be a difficult process in the workplace. – if the methodology is not implemented, workers will fall into their old ways.  It can be provided a 5S Lean Manufacturing checklist to workers that they should complete each week. The more often they are visited, the more familiar the staff will be with the new work standards.

5.  Sustain (Shitsuke)

When implemented correctly, 5S Lean Manufacturing results in a safe, lean, and organized workplace. Sustained and long-term improvements will increase overall efficiency, employee performance, and morale. It also involves training and getting more and more workers involved in the 5S process. Therefore, workers also have satisfaction of the work environment by cleaning and organizing it.

Benefits of 5S

The 5S method provides considerable benefits. Common benefits for companies that adopt 5S in Lean manufacturing include:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • Increased safety
  • Reduced wastage
  • Equipment availability
  • Better asset utilization
  • Fewer mishaps
  • Lower cost
  • Improved employee morale
  • Increased speed

Getting Started with 5S

Workers’ buy-in is critical when adopting 5S. When a company decides to implement 5S methods, every worker should be involved from the top to the bottom. Participation is needed from all to ensure there are no gaps in the process. Allow workers to weigh in on your 5S process, and work with them to create a structure that is valuable to their workflow.

Khenda AI solutions help manufacturers accelerate their operations with Lean Manufacturing tools for safer, cleaner, more productive workplaces.

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