Working Wednesday::5S Methodology

by heatherkp

I recently learned about a fascinating methodology used in Japan for organizing the workplace.  I have a love of most things Japanese and this methodology is one I feel could be effectively implemented by many business’s or individuals even though it’s primary application seems to be in the manufacturing sector (Toyota and Canon are examples of Japanese companies that have implemented this system).  I tend to better remember systems that employ a simple name mnemonic‘s.  Apparently the Japanese agree!  Here’s how the 5 S Methodology works by the following phases: sorting, straightening, systematic cleaning, standardizing, and sustaining.   I think it’s so simple it’s brilliant!

  • Seiri or Sorting

  • Seiton or Straightening (setting in order / stabilize)

  • Seiso or systematic cleaning

  • Seiketsu or Standardizing

  • Shitsuke or Sustaining (sustaining the discipline or self-discipline)

Main objectives in the 5S methodology include improve productivity and quality.  Another benefit is that this system encourages each person to take ownership of every item and their surroundings.  This is where personal creative participation should be encouraged (weather it be getting the children involved or the employees!)  Health and safety improvements can be included as additional benefits.  As with all systematic changes that individuals or companies may choose to adopt, they must be clearly understood by all participants and there should be clear goals associated with the implementation of such a system for it to be effective.  If you would like to learn more about this methodology check out Wikipedia to start with.  From there you can find many other informative articles related to “lean principles“.

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