Hi there, I’m Ron Pereira of Gemba Academy and I’d like to welcome you to this first module of our 5S course.
Specifically, by the end of this module you’ll know what 5S is and why it’s so important no matter what industry you work in. And finally, you’ll know where the concepts of 5S started… and as a small hint it wasn’t Japan.
Alright, well let’s get started by first answering the question… what exactly is 5S?
Well formally defined, 5S is a method of creating a clean and orderly workplace that exposes waste and makes abnormalities immediately visible. As an aside, this particular image has an interesting story behind it. The man on his hands and knees polishing the floor just happens to be the president of this manufacturing company. You see, at this company nearly all employees, including senior management, come to work 30 minutes early every day in order to clean and tidy things up. Oh, and one other small fact… these 30 minutes are unpaid and completely voluntary. But as it turns out 5S is so engrained into this company’s culture nearly all employees partake in this early morning routine.
Now, with this said, while cleaning is an extremely important part of 5S it must be said that 5S is far more than a housekeeping initiative like so many confuse it to be.
You see, as we learned earlier one of the main purposes of 5S is to be able to identify abnormalities. In other words, if the place we work in is an unorganized mess, chances are we’ll rarely be able to spot when something is not right. But if we have things neat, clean, and tidy we’re far more likely to identify when something isn’t right.
OK, well now that we have a better understanding of what 5S is let’s learn about its origins.
When someone refers to 5S they’re generally referring to 5 Japanese words that start with S. But, it would seem, contrary to what many people assume… the origins of 5S may not be Japanese after all. In fact, Henry Ford’s CANDO program which stands for cleaning up, arranging, neatness, discipline, and ongoing improvement seems to be the obvious precursor to what we call 5S today. This actually seems very logical since the Japanese studied Ford’s methods shortly after the war ended.
But to be sure, the 5S we’re focused on in this course and in most lean manufacturing situations is based on 5 Japanese words. They are – seiri which is commonly translated as sort, seiton which means to straighten, seisou which means to sweep or shine, seiketsu which actually means to sanitize but is most commonly referred to as standardize today, and finally shitsuke which means self discipline or sustain.
Now, later in the module we’ll dive a bit deeper into each of these 5 steps… but before then let’s spend some time talking about why 5S is so important no matter if you work in a machine shop or a hospital.
The first reason 5S is so important is its impact on safety. There can be no debating the fact that a a cluttered and chaotic work area is often an unsafe work area. 5S, at its core, should always focus on creating and maintaining an organized and safe workplace.
The second reason 5S is so important is that it helps us identify and eliminate waste or muda. Most people are amazed at how much more productive they are once their work area is de-cluttered, cleaned, and organized. Again, these people I am referring to could be a machine shop operator, or an accountant who sits behind a desk all day, or a nurse who works 12 long hours each night and just wants things to be in their place.
The third reason 5S is so beneficial is the fact that it’s low cost and very high impact. You don’t need to spend money to improve 5S. In fact, you could very well make some money if you sell items you no longer use or need.
Next, done correctly 5S gets everyone in the company involved. It doesn’t matter if you wear a suit and tie or scrubs… 5S knows no boundary. So, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring folks that wouldn’t normally interact with one another together. This type of collaboration makes companies stronger.
Another reason 5S is so important is the simple fact that adherence to standards is a key to kaizen. And since 5S is a standard in and of itself it goes without saying…
… if you can’t do 5S, you can’t do Lean. In fact, 5S is a key building block for most of the lean tools and concepts used today such as one piece flow, total productive maintenance, and single minute exchange of dies. As they say, without 5S you can indeed forget the rest.
OK, well now that we have a better understanding of why 5S is so important let’s discuss each step of the process. Before then, let me just say that in the coming modules of this course we’ll explain exactly how to go about executing a 5S kaizen.
The first step is sort. This step basically challenges us to get rid of the things we don't need or use. This can be a very hard step for some people since they like to keep everything they’ve ever come into contact with. But this type of attitude only leads to clutter and disorganization. So, if we don’t need it we need to get rid of it.
To help facilitate the sort process lean practitioners often use red tags similar to the one’s shown in this picture. We’ll be covering everything you need to know about red tagging in a coming module. While it’s not a complicated concept there are many traps that you need to know about.
The second step is straighten. So, once we’ve cleared out the items we don’t need we need to straighten up what’s left. The mantra of a place for everything, and everything in its place fits this step perfectly.
Here’s an example of a nicely straightened tool box. If a screwdriver were missing from the top it would be obvious to the owner of the tool box giving them an opportunity to find it or replace it before he or she actually needed it to repair or work on something.
The third step is sweep. This step is also often referred to as shine. This is probably the most misunderstood step of all since most assume this step simply means to grab a broom and clean up. And while good old fashioned sweeping is definitely important, this step is far more than just cleaning. You see, the main principle behind this step is to clean to inspect. In other words, if you find yourself sweeping up the same mess day after day you should do your best to eliminate the source of the dirt.
Some examples of scrubbing and sweeping in action. In this example, the sources of the dirt and grime were attacked as part of a TPM kaizen event further demonstrating how 5S and other lean principles are tied at the hip.
The fourth step is standardize. This step is focused on creating standards so abnormalities are easily recognized. Things like checklists and audits are very helpful. Also, some companies even engage in corporate 5S competitions where the monthly winner gets to hold the local 5S trophy while the last place team gets the opportunity to partake in a brown bag lunch with the general manager of the facility as they explain their plan to improve.
If you look closely at the picture of our president scrubbing the floor you can see many examples of standardization in place. Notice the blue tape on the floor… this is used to ensure the tables are put back into the correct location. Also, look at the sign under the mirror. Since this particular plant is in Japan it is customary to remove your street shoes… well, they have made it pretty clear where your shoes are supposed to placed. If you happen to be watching this video with a group I’d like to welcome you to pause the video in order to discuss what you see. Do you think this level of standardization would work in your company? Take some time and discuss as group.
Finally the last step is self discipline. The key to this step is to apply positive tension. In other words, for any improvements to sustain it must be made clear that this is how we intend to operate as a company. It’s similar to a rope. If a rope is pulled tightly and we pull on it we get an immediate response. Conversely, if the rope is loose and we pull on it we may not know about it for some time. So, it gets back to be able to identify abnormalities. With positive tension we identify issues immediately… with loose or no tension we don’t.
OK, well this wraps up this 5S overview module. Obviously we’ve only skimmed the topic in this video. But rest assured, by the end of this course you and your organization will know exactly how to deploy 5S throughout your organization no matter what type of industry you work in. We’ll take you on a deep dive into topics like red tagging, standardization, visual controls, and much more. Oh, and I almost forgot… you’ll also witness me practicing what I preach as I work on bringing a little order and sanity to this little disaster behind me. (pause and smile) But until then, on behalf of all of us at Gemba Academy I’d like to wish you all the best as you progress on this never ending journey of continuous improvement.
5S Workplace Productivity Overview
Learning Objectives <ul><li>What is 5S? </li></ul><ul><li>Why 5S? </li></ul><ul><li>Origins of 5S </li></ul>