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Feb 22, 2010

The 5S Method

What is The 5S Method
In a metal manufacturing setting, the Kaizen 5S scheme, which is an arrangement of five Japanese words beginning with the letter "S" can be implemented for the shop floor.

The first "S" is "sort." The shop floor in a metal environment should always be neat. Any parts not required for production need to be discarded. A way of recognizing unnecessary items is by "red tagging" them. The parts are then relocated to a location where they can be sorted out and either thrown away, used elsewhere.
The second "S" is "set in order." The shop environment should have everything organized. parts have to be stockpiled effectively and tagged so that employees can find them quickly and easily. If things are out of place, this will advance production time while workers look for components. It is important that all of the "S" steps go in order and that this step is done after sorting because time does not need to be wasted sorting items that need to be red tagged and disposed of.
The third "S" is "shine." Now that everything is put away, an exhaustive cleansing of the shop needs to be done. Equipment and areas should always be clean so they are working at their best so cleaning of areas should be done daily. Cleaning also helps employees notice if anything is not functioning optimally. Grim can hinder the performance of a machine in a metal manufacturing environment.
The fourth "S" is standardization. Standardization ensures that everyone is on the same page in what they should be working on and a standard form of procedures is always followed so that the 5S methodology is upheld. Straying from the steps or standards can squander valuable time. Prevention is important in this step so that a buildup of unnecessary materials is prevented, a dirty work environment is avoided, and the first 3 S's are maintained.
The final "S" is sustaining the discipline and continuing with the principles of Kaizen through continuous improvement. The aim is to make all of the S's a practice and to not revert to old habits and fail to remember the 5S methodology. Management follow-up and constant reminders are required to ensure that the 5S methodology is a success.
5S System in Practice
At my company (fac filter co.), we used the 5S system to better our working environment. We used metrics to evaluate efficiency and achievement in our production work environment as well as evaluated production quality levels. We also observed benchmarks of needed skill sets for employees working in certain areas so that they could determine which of their employees needed more training. The system let us to improve our business significantly by putting into practice the 5S system in a metal manufacturing setting.

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