5S Implementation: Saves Time, Money and Space

5S is one of the most cost-effective lean techniques available, and it is foundational to all other lean techniques. That makes 5S the perfect starting point for bringing the benefits of lean to your workplace. 5S stands for five individual s-words: sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain.

The 5S methodology is typically implemented using a three-step process, which includes establishing a cross-functional team, touring all areas associated with the manufacturing process under review, and brainstorming ways to improve organization to reduce waste. Implementing the 5S method means cleaning up and organizing the workplace in its existing configuration. It is typically the first lean method that organizations implement. This lean method encourages workers to improve their working conditions and helps them learn to reduce waste, unplanned downtime, and in-process inventory.

The 5S process is not one that can be forced onto an area by an outsider, it a process of improvement that is conducted by the people that work within the area itself. It is an ongoing process of improvement, not just a once off event to tidy everything up before a customer visit; if you find yourself still having to conduct clean ups prior to visits then you have not implemented 5S. 5S also encourages worker participation in the workplace design and maintenance. This involvement serves to engage the workers in the long-term sustainability of the workplace and can enhance their commitment to and pride in the work. With the help of 5S implantation, organization gets advantages of saving the time and space.

Standardization is also a part of 5S. Standardization ensures that the most efficient work practices are identified and used, and that wasteful work practices, unnecessary tools, unused materials are eliminated. By eliminating unused materials, tools and equipment, and getting rid of clutter, a surprising amount of space will be freed up. There is a cost associated with space, not only in the rental or lease costs, but in heating/cooling, cleaning and maintaining of that space. Simply 5S implementation represents methodology of lean management, frequently applied to manufacturing or production operations.

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