New Workplace Organisation Method will Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness
5S is a visual control methodology that originated in Japan. It goes beyond efficient housekeeping and is all about maintaining high standards throughout the business.
Labelnet has recently re-evaluated its internal organisational practices around the 5S method of work. The discipline is one of the techniques developed in Japan towards its famous “Just in Time” manufacturing process.
5S is based on the Japanese words seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu and shitsuke, and has been adopted by many organisations that strive for continuous improvement. It gives a solid foundation by which to organise the workplace and everyday working activities for maximum safety and efficiency and to minimise waste.
Under 5S, the Gemba (workplace) takes centre stage. Staff at all levels are encouraged to consider and respect it as a whole, and to take responsibility for their part in maintaining it.
The first step is to evaluate and separate out items that are not needed in the working area. This removes obstacles and distractions, making it easier to focus on the job in hand. It also means the working environment is free from clutter, and therefore safer.
Thinking hard about what is really necessary and ruthlessly removing everything else can ultimately lead to increased efficiency and cost savings too.
Sometimes translated as “set in order,” the concept of seiton is all about making working processes as simple, efficient and intuitive as possible.
How much time does the team waste finding things and putting them away again? With the workplace de-cluttered, workstations can be organised so that everything necessary is naturally close to hand.
Using seiton, there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place. More importantly, that place is logical and everyone knows about it.
Getting everything organised is relatively easy compared to the challenge of keeping it that way. That is why seiso is such an important component of 5S. Cleaning is an inherent part of the process, and also serves as an inspection method to ensure that everything is in order.
A clean fresh environment is also a much nicer and safer place to work, and by keeping tools and equipment clean, they will work better, last longer and always be ready to use.
By constantly revisiting the first three aspects, best practice can soon be identified and standardised. And by creating documented standards for each processes, we can ensure that 5S is not just a flash in the pan.
With everybody sticking to the rules, 5S becomes the normal practice and there is no risk of backsliding.
Shitsuke follows on from seiketsu as the final stage in ensuring that 5S remains a way of life, through training and education of everyone in the organisation. The underlying concept is for everyone to understand that it is better and easier to follow the rules of 5S than not to.
That way, it becomes second nature to everyone, and they follow the right procedures without having to be told.
Of course, to reach this stage, there is also an aspect of audit and checking, but the main onus is on collective responsibility and individual self-management.