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Oct 7, 2010

The key to World Class Performance

5S is the key to world class performance it simple but effective. 5S is all about creating a more effective workplace that is well organized, free of clutter, and organized so that you can easily find things. It is also incredibly clean.

This program is known as the 5S program, it is called this because the basic elements begin with the letter "S". These elements are:

Set In Order

The 5S methodology is simple but effective. It also provides the foundation of many other continuous improvement programs.

People practice the five pillars in their everyday lives. When we keep things like our toiletries, wash cloths and towels in convenient and familiar place, we are practicing the first two pillars - Sort and Set In Order. If our home environment become cluttered and disorganized we tend to function a lot less efficiently.

It is unfortunate that few companies are as standardized with 5S routines as is the daily life of a well organized person. In the workplace it is just as important as in the daily life of a person that effective routines for orderliness be maintained to ensure the smooth and effective flow of operational activities. Sort and Set In Order are the foundation for improving throughput, decreasing inventory and reducing operating costs.

Keep in mind that:

A neat and clean workplace has higher Quality
A neat and clean workplace has higher productivity and less Cost
A neat and clean workplace meets Delivery requirements better
A neat and clean workplace is a Safer place to work
A neat and clean workplace has higher Moral


The purpose of Sort is to remove all items from the workplace that are not needed for current production or clerical operations. When you are first getting started, this can be a difficult task as it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between what is needed and what is not.

People have a tendency to hang on to parts, materials, tools, etc thinking that they may need them later on. Often times extra inventory and inappropriate tools and equipment are left in the work place, this has a tendency to accumulate over time and gets in the way of production activities. This leads to a gradual build up of waste over time. The key to this is a process for evaluating the necessity of an item using a process called "Red Tagging". This process will greatly reduce the risk of disposing of items that may be needed later.

Set In Order

Set In Order is defined as "arranging needed items so that they are easy to use and labeling them so that they are easy to locate and put away. You should always implement Set In Order with Sort.

Once you have thoroughly Sorted everything, all that you will have left will be the items necessary to support production. Your next step will be to make it obvious where these items belong and in what quantity so that people can quickly find them and or return them.


The third element is Shine. This wiping down machinery and equipment, sweeping floors and making sure that everything is clean. It is also about inspecting machines and equipment for proper operation and possible damage or needed repair.

Shine has a definite impact on producing defect-free product, by preventing dust, dirt, and debris form accumulating in the workplace.


Standardize differs from the first three pillars which can be thought of as activities. It is the method that you use to carry out Sort, Set In Order, and Shine. Standardize is related to these three activities, however it is most closely related to Shine. It occurs when you keep machines and their surrounding areas free of dirt, debris, and oil. In other words it is the condition that exists when shine is appropriately practiced for some time.


Sustain means making the first four pillars a habit by maintaining correct procedures and processes. You will find that the first for pillars are relatively easy to implement if you and your fellow employees will commit to sustaining the desired 5S conditions. If you do, you will find that your workplace will enjoy high productivity and quality while reducing unnecessary waste and high cost of operation.


Your organization will experience many benefits from implementing 5S. These benefits include:

Improved quality zero defects
Decreased cost through reduced waste
Improved delivery through less production delays and downtime
Increased morale because of a cleaner, healthier workplace
Increase safety because of reduced hazards.

Program Implementation

The key to an effective 5S program is proper planning and implementation. This can only occur if you employ the use of a 5S implementation team. This team must be properly trained and given sufficient resources and management support. The most effective planning and implementation comes about when the team is coached or guided through the process in a workshop environment. Another key is selecting a small target area to start with and get the program running properly before rolling it out to the entire company.