3 min read

By: Adebayo B. Olanrewaju 

The 5S system is an approach for good house-keeping and improving workplace efficiency by improving the layouts of the work environment and incorporating the culture of continuous improvement. The system is a comprehensive work-floor management tools which focuses reducing the cycle time of repetitive operations and improving an organization's culture. 

It comprises of 5 different "S" with each meaning described as follows:

  1. The first "S" means Sort (known as Seiri in Japanese).
  2. The second "S" means Set In Order (known as Seiton in Japanese).
  3. The third "S" means Shine (known as Seiso in Japanese).
  4. The fourth "S" means Standardize (known as Seiketsu in Japanese).
  5. The fifth "S" means Sustain (known as Shitsuke in Japanese).

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5S Project Plan

Implementing a 5S system requires careful planning and considerations such as selection of suitable and rightful project leader, 5S champion, members of the team, sizable area, justified time limits etc.

  • Project Leader

 This individual should be someone with comprehensive understanding of 5S and relevant experience of working with organizational change

  • The 5S Champion

This person is responsible for the designated area under 5S project implementation. They will be on ground while also giving guidance and instructions to the team.

  • Team Members

Everyone working in areas under the scope of the implementation project should be involved as a team member. It is recommended to have one or two persons from other departments in that area, to have a different sight on the situation, more like a third eye. 

  • Size of the Area

 When implementing 5S project within an organization, it is recommended to choose an area of thousand square feet at a time, instead of all areas in the plant all at once. One good way is to select an area where some group of processes start and completely ends. This will enable 5S improve the flow of work through the processes. 

  • Time-frame

There are two available alternatives with reference to the time-frame for starting 5S event. The first is to shut down the workplace for three to four days and dedicate the team to this event. The second is to work on 5S for a few hours in a day or week until the event is finished.

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Important Steps for Planning the 5S Project

  1. Keep a 2-inch three-­ring binder to keep the entire project related documents in one file.
  2. Determine the implementation area of the project plan.
  3. Draft the Project Charter for the project and get it approved from the management.
  4. Create a list of tools and material needed in the project so it will be procured and available when needed.
  5. Other departments should be carried along with respect to the plan, so they will be aware and their activities don’t disturb the 5S implementation project.
  6. Snapshots, images of areas before 5S implementation should be captured for the purpose of comparing the pre-5S implementation versus post 5S implementation scenario.

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About the Author

Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations. 

You can reach him here.

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