As a part of the Toyota Production System, Toyota developed a system to analyze an organization’s business and manufacturing processes and remove all non value added event or processes that are present. There are five steps and the Japanese terms all start with S – Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu & Shitsuke. Translating the terms into English keeping with the “S” theme, the 5 S’s become Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. This process can be implemented in many organizations, whether manufacturing or service oriented the 5 S process works.
Sort is going through the items on your desk, on your website, on your production floor, in your shop, wherever you are, and pulling out those things that are duplicates, not used or not important. If you haven’t used it in a year, you probably don’t need it.
Straighten is putting the things that you do need in order at a work station. The goal is being efficient so your work flow is smooth. Are your tools easy to reach when you’re working on a project, do they have a place marked for them to be stored?
Shine is going through and cleaning up the work area. At the end of the day clean up your work station, sweep the floors, and return tools (pens, documents, power tools) to their proper place. This should be incorporated into every day routines.
Standardize is having everyone in the company follow the same processes and procedures. When implementing the changes from sorting, straightening, and shining, these changes need to be accepted and followed by all employees to gain the most benefit. It can also be using the same brand of tool so that they can be interchangeable and easily replaced as they wear out.
Sustain is the last step, what good is all the hard work you’ve done if two weeks later you go back to an unsorted work station. Another part of sustaining is reviewing the changes you have made to ensure they are still working and are actually providing you a benefit in efficiencies, quality and cost of your operations.
The 5 S’s are a process that can be utilized over and over again. It can be used at a workstation in a manufacturing company as easily as it can be at a restaurant or engineering company. Here at Setpoint, not only do our shop guys go through the 5 S process, but the engineers and the management team does as well.
In the following weeks we will take an in-depth look at each of the five steps. We have also filmed two videos focusing on the 5 S’s, one looking at a production facilities uses with their machinery and the other focuses on a shop environment where they continually build different products and ship them out.
Here is the series: