Involvement is the key for a successful 5S implementation
Even if most of your employees want to adopt the principles of 5 S, active participation and total involvement in the program is the key to its successful implementation.
If you do it right, you will not just benefit from smooth-running business operations, but also having highly-motivated employees eager to continue on with the change process.
So how could 5S be effectively implemented?
Based on my experience, the following steps are the key treads that would best guarantee the successful 5S implementation:
1. Choose a department to start with. As 5 S will use resources, you should begin somewhere where the payback time is shortest. Do it right so that you have a good example to set for the next. Duplicate. Replicate.
2. Conduct 5S training workshops. In a production plant, the training involves all production personnel, maintenance, managers and staff.
3. Treat seiri (sort/organization) as a ‘waste reduction’ activity. The goal is to release time for housekeeping and to make housekeeping as easy as possible. The best way to do this is to go out in the facility in cross-functional teams and search for everything that creates unnecessary effort. Sort out unnecessary objects; mark all known problems, find leakages, and remove hazards. Red-tag every problem and make an action plan that you carry out within 30 days.
4. Seiton is setting everything in order. Seiton focuses on arranging/fixing everything starting from the easiest and most efficient access. It is the efficient placement and arrangement of equipment and materials. In practice, you might integrate seiton in the action plan from seiri, or it could be a task for empowered work teams.
5. Seiso means shiny clean. Cleanliness is crucial for the acceptance of 5S. There are two goals with seiso: the first is to agree on what cleaning standard you mutually think is right. The second goal is to document what you need to do to get there. Just like seiri, everybody working in the area, including managers and staff, should perform the seiso activity. Split the area into small parts and appoint teams to take care of each. Let the teams note down what “spring cleaning job” they want to do, and ask them to estimate how often this cleaning should be repeated in the future. Finally, take a photo of the new standard. Remember that seiso is a one-time activity the next ‘S’s will keep up the new standard.
6. Seiketsu means standardized cleanup. If you fail here, all other steps are worthless. When you come to seiketsu, you will be happy if you have a good documentation of seiso. If so, you already know what the necessary housekeeping tasks are, and you have an estimation of their intervals. The good news is that the new habits are not something that you have invented. Instead, they were proposed and introduced by the people doing seiso. You just have to decide which system you will use to schedule the proposed activities.
7. Shitsuke is discipline and discipline should be sustained. Discipline is what will change the future. Even if your schedules are world class, it is useless if you do not follow them. Agree on a top management policy on cleaning. Place the photos from seiso on the walls; appoint people responsible for all systems that you introduced; and use audits to prevent the level to drop.
There you go—a plan to implement 5S involving your employees.
Be consistent, and you can expect impressive and long-term results.
5S - Seiri "Sort"
Introduction to the First 5S Step
Seiri is the first step of the 5S method. It means “to sort” or organize.
This article introduces Seiri; two more articles follow with more details on “how to” and “what benefits to expect”.
Seiri has two main goals:
- Remove unnecessary objects
- Reduce waste
What “objects” are we talking about? Why remove objects that are not needed?
Redundant objects may range from empty boxes through bins of rejected parts to obsolete machinery. Some objects might have some value but are simply inappropriate, such as a jerry-rigged tool that substitutes for a proper equipment repair.
Too many workplaces are cluttered with things that are no longer required. This does not just apply inside a factory. Offices may have “libraries” of obsolete manuals or binders, or filing cabinets with outdated records that should be archived offsite. Warehouses or repair shops may contain obsolete raw materials, inventory or spare parts. Even bulletin boards can be clogged with outdated notices. Computer systems may also get cluttered with obsolete programs or data that should be archived – although you want your Information Technology department to tackle this area, and to do so carefully.
Here are several good reasons for disposing of unnecessary objects:
- Free up production space for new business
- Sell materials to realize the scrap value (normally not very profitable, but it is unlikely to appreciate in value over time)
- Free up office or warehouse space, to reduce rental costs
- Save time when taking inventory
- Save time when looking for an item that is actually needed
- Save time moving goods because there is less clutter in the way
Finally, if something is broken or poorly-repaired, either fix it properly or replace it. Jerry-rigged tools tend to be inefficient and hazardous. On the “soft” side, consider the effect on morale and on quality goals if sub-standard tools are acceptable.
What does it mean to “reduce waste”?
This goes beyond simply “reducing waste material” by identifying all hindrances and generating ideas for improvements. Here are some sample questions:
- Are work instructions available, accurate, and used?
- Work instructions can help improve quality, reduce reject rates and increase productivity
- What safety hazards exist: cluttered floors; missing safety guards on machinery; electrical faults; broken steps on ladders?
- Injuries reduce productivity!
- Do we endanger the environment? Do we spill liquids, vent gasses, work in billowing dust, or produce hazardous solid waste?
- Are materials being wasted? Will employees become ill?
- Do we have the right tools, in the right places, in good condition?
- Searching for tools reduces productivity. Damaged tools may cause re-work.
- Does the workplace enable or hinder us? Are workbenches at the right height? Are chairs too low or too high for some workers? Have back injuries occurred because people have to lift and twist?
- Injuries reduce productivity! So do awkward work processes, like stooping and twisting.
- Is maintenance up to date? Has machinery been patched, rather than repaired properly? Are electric cables properly installed, or are we using “extension cords”? Are the buildings well-maintained, or is the paint peeling?
- Problems in these areas suggest problems with quality control.
- Do we have an inventory of suggestions or reviews that have never been implemented?
- Following-up on suggestions leads to improvements, and keeps the employees engaged so they will make more suggestions which lead to further improvements...
How to Sort – “Seiri”The previous article introduced Seiri, the first step in the 5S methodology. That article presented the two goals for the “Sort” step, and suggested some questions to guide the process.The goals of Seiri are:
How to “sort” it outManagement must commit employee time and effort to this task, including time to plan and train.The Seiri step requires teams. The smallest team should have a representative line worker from the production side, as well as a maintenance technician. This gives a more well-rounded perspective during the review. As well, the actual task of logging problems is performed more quickly and more thoroughly by at least two people, rather than by just one.Supervisors should be included in the teams. If every team has a foreperson or manager, then the team size may be as large as five or eight employees in total. Remember to involve night shift personnel too – either as separate teams or integrating them for the duration of the Seiri step.The planning step has four outcomes:
- Remove unnecessary objects
- Reduce waste
The previous article had suggested some questions. Some new ones include:
- A list of questions to guide each team
- An area for each team to cover, so the whole factory or workplace will be reviewed
- A time frame for this stage
- A training plan so the teams will know what to do
It is important to cover the whole workplace.Red Tags and Sort ListsRed Tags and Sort Lists are the primary tools for the Seiri step.It is best to buy or make pre-numbered red tags, since the numbers allow the issues to be tracked.The Red Tag needs to have the following information:
- Do we still have the machine that these spare parts fix?
- Do we still manufacture (or supply parts) that this raw material is for?
- Will we ever re-work these rejected pieces?
- Is this documentation out of date?
- Are all the tools needed at this workstation actually stored here? Neatly?
- Is everything stored at this workstation really needed here?
Record the same information on the team’s Sort List.Using the Red Tag to “remove unnecessary items” is fairly straightforward. Here is the process.Each Red Tag gives other workers an opportunity to pass along comments. Typically, a long-time employee might note that “Every four or five years, we have to pick out a few of these parts for customer X who still has an old ZYXW model”. So that might reprieve this one bin of spare parts.After thirty days, each Seiri team retraces their steps to review each Red Tag. If no-one has suggested why an item should be saved rather than discarded, then deal with it. Items that are needed less frequently should be moved to a proper storage area rather than cluttering the shop floor. (Questionable items may go into a “quarantined storage” area. The idea is to log when a quarantined item actually is used. Otherwise, it should eventually be discarded).Keep the Sort List up-to-date with the same information. Eventually, the team must track down any Red Tags that the Sort List still shows as outstanding – as “not yet handled”.Using the Red Tag to “reduce waste” is similar. The time frame might be longer than the month allocated for discarding unnecessary items. However, the efforts should begin and be continuous. Management support and commitment are critical over the long term.In this case, the Red Tag shows a suggestion for improvement, such as “Need (updated) work instructions” or “Need tool ABC at this workstation” or “Repair this (broken or jerry-rigged) item”. It is unlikely that a worker will comment “No – don’t fix it”. However, these issues must be copied from the Sort List to the appropriate work order so the improvement will actually be made.Once the improvement happens, add the information to the Red Tag and return it to the Seiri team. They will check off the Sort List. Again, the team will eventually pursue outstanding Red Tags and ensure that the improvements really occur.The next article will discuss the benefits of the Seiri step.
- Tag number
- Item description
- Reason (why was the item tagged)
- Date when the tag was applied
- Name or employee number of the person who applied the tag
The Benefits of Sorting (“Seiri”)The Seiri step is only the start of the 5S process, but some benefits should be felt immediately.
5S - Seiton (“Set in Order”)Introduction to the Second 5S StepSeiton is the second step of the 5S method. It means “to set in order” or to put everything into its proper place.GoalsThe goal of Seiton is that everything should be stored “conveniently”. In practice, this means:
- Finding lost or forgotten materials – whether spare parts, raw materials or work-in-progress – may save on re-ordering costs
- It will be quicker and safer to move goods after clutter has been removed
- It will be quicker to find tools if they are stored where they are needed
- It will be quicker to find tools if they are not hidden by piles of clutter
- The same goes for documents and binders: find the current information more quickly, and avoid using outdated material
- Similarly, bulletin boards are more useful when only relevant materials are posted
- Adjustments and repairs will be quicker and more effective when the right tools – in a state of good repair – are used
- A worker is more productive with enough elbow room
- Whether it is a workbench or a desk, a tidy and well-organized workplace enhances productivity
- Reduced likelihood of injuries because:
- Seats and work surfaces are at the right heights for the workers
- Less stooping, bending, lifting and twisting if items are stored conveniently
- Safety devices are installed properly
- Electric wiring (and hydraulic or pneumatic hoses) are installed properly
- Ladders are in good repair
- Less clutter underfoot leads to fewer slips or falls
- Improved quality thanks to clear, simple instructions posted at work stations
- Improved morale because:
- Management has demonstrated concern by starting the clean-up, replacing worn tools, and addressing safety concerns
- Renewed attention to previous suggestions for improvements
5S practitioners may describe three zones for storage:
- Store tools where they will be used
- The more frequently it is used, the closer it should be kept
- Reduce clutter by storing rarely-used tools farther away
- Make it easy to fetch and retrieve items
- The worker should not bend, stoop or stretch frequently
- The worker should not have to twist or change direction after lifting a heavy object
- Keep work pathways smooth and clear
- Avoid having to lift one object over another
- Avoid having to move an object several times because it gets in the way
Build a CultureIt is one thing to set up storage areas. It is another to have people use them properly.Management must begin building a culture where workers, as a matter of course and a matter of pride:
- Keep the most frequently-used tools right at the workbench:
- Easy to reach
- Easy to put back when not needed
- Daily or monthly tools might be kept somewhere near the equipment, but not in the way
- Try hanging tools on a rack – clearly outline and label each hanger for its own tool
- Consider using a storage cabinet to keep dust and grime off the tool
- These storage areas should still be visible from the area of the work station
- Rarely-used tools or spare parts could be stored away from the shop floor
- Try using a storage room
- Racks or cabinets still need clear labels so items will be returned after being used
A misplaced tool will be a visible eyesore in a well-run factory. If someone could leave a (rarely-used) pipe wrench on their workbench, or leaning against a machine – would anyone notice? If not, it is definitely time to initiate a 5S campaign.
- Store items where they belong
- Keep the work areas tidy
How to Set in Order (“Seiton”)The previous article outlined the goal for Seiton. This article will discuss “how to” bring order to your factory or workplace.Three factors are: plan where something should be stored; plan how it should be stored; ensure people follow these rules.Where Should It Go?Imagine that every tool has a mind of its own, and wants to be as close to the worker as possible. What would they say to claim the closest location? How would you settle the argument?The first and most important consideration is: how often is it used? Whatever is handled most frequently should be stored most closely to the worker. Let’s say that, in a metal shop, the worker files a burr off each piece to finish it. The file should be stored conveniently nearby – not on a wall several steps away. If the worker needs a wrench to adjust some equipment at the start of the week, then store the wrench farther away – so it does not get in the way of the frequent filing operation.Secondly, is it easy to reach the item? In the above example, the worker should not need to bend, stretch or twist just to reach the file, nor to move other items out of the way every time the file is retrieved.Take time to plan the storage site for the infrequently-used tools also. You don’t want to waste time digging through a rat’s nest when you need that annually-used tool. Use the same principles to organize a storage area as were used to position tools nearer the workbench.How To Store It?The classic way to store hand tools – used by hobbyists and in factories – is to hang them on a tool board, over a painted outline.Beyond this standard idea, consider putting a label on each tool. You have probably seen a stapler with a personal or department name – to remind any borrower that it should be returned promptly. A tool’s label might refer to the workbench; or it might show the size or other special property to make it easy to identify.After all the emphasis on “where” to store tools, also ask “in what condition”? In a kitchen, one would expect to wash a chef’s knife before putting it away; but it may be customary to quickly sharpen it just before use. Should a worker wipe grease from a wrench before hanging it up? Should damaged tools be tagged and sent for repair? (Or is the worker responsible for writing up a work order)?Finally, some items may require special conditions for long-term storage. Some chemicals cannot be stored at high or low temperatures; metals may rust in damp environments.Building the CultureOnce the planning is done, and storage is available, the next task is to build the culture of Seiton.Some office environments enforce a “no papers left on the desk” policy. Management enables this by providing enough storage so that employees can indeed put everything away before leaving. Management then enforces the policy by regularly patrolling the area after hours, and confiscating anything left on top of the desk. The offending employee will have a discussion with the supervisor on the next working day.To some degree, enforcing the Seiton step belongs to the Shitsuke process of sustaining the discipline.
The Benefits of “Setting in Order” (“Seiton”)What are the benefits of the Seiton step in the 5S process?
Increased Productivity – Reduced Retrieval TimeTime-motion studies were developed by Taylor and the Gilbreths, although they had somewhat different issues in mind. Clearly, an action repeated, say, 100 times a day and taking 80% of the work day should be optimized over a weekly action that takes 1% of the work week.Therefore, placing the most frequently-used tools in the most convenient locations will improve productivity by reducing the time to fetch and replace those tools.Locating the frequently-used tools “closer to hand” means that other items will be “farther away”, by necessity. Storing all the most rarely-used tools in specific well-known locations – in a storage locker or store room – means that workers will still know where to look for those items.Consider what happens if items are stored haphazardly. A worker might keep a can of lubricant handy for the Monday morning task of greasing a machine. If the lubricant is stored in a cabinet, someone else may “borrow” it, or it might become hidden behind other items. But to keep it on the workbench means that it is in the way during all the other routine tasks – slowing down the regular daily work.Of course, searching for the can of lubricant should not take long, even if it is only used once a week. So proper storage means that it has a specific place in the cabinet – and even if several people use it, it will always be promptly returned to its exact location.Here is another example of haphazard storage. Suppose everyone shares one broom each day to sweep up dust and shavings. If it is stored wherever the last worker used it, then each day someone searches for the shared broom.Cost SavingsWorkers may order replacements for items that are simply misplaced. If the item is lost behind clutter, or not stored in its rightful place, it may be simpler to acquire a replacement.Reduced InjuriesA worker is on the path to chronic injury if the job regularly involves any of these actions:
- Increased productivity by decreasing the time spent retrieving a tool
- Cost savings because “lost” tools do not need to be re-ordered
- Reduced injuries because tools are stored in convenient and ergonomic places – workers do less bending, lifting, twisting and stretching
- Increased productivity because it is clear when items are indeed unavailable
- Easier cleanup
Placing tools in convenient locations – so the worker does not need to stretch, twist, stoop, or lift outside of their centre of gravity – will reduce the incidents back pain, strains and pulled muscles.Increased Productivity – Reduced Time Searching for Unavailable ItemsIt is easy to see that a tool is missing & where the tool should be stored, if it should be hung on a tool board over a painted outline. Anything left on a workbench or on the floor is quickly noticed, also.If a tool is broken, its normal storage location should have a tag with an explanatory note. Again, this saves the time and confusion of looking for the “misplaced” tool.Easier CleanupAt the end of the day, cleaning up a work station or shop floor is easier after the tools have been stored properly.Dust can easily accumulate around items left on a workbench. By contrast, if everything is stored on a tool board beside the workbench, the bench itself can be quickly wiped clean.The same applies for sweeping a shop floor that does not have trolleys parked haphazardly.Later 5S steps specifically address cleanliness.5S - Seiso “Shiny Clean”Introduction to the Third 5S StepSeiso is the third step of the 5S method. It means “to make everything shiny clean”. It is the only one-time step in the 5S process.GoalsThe two goals of the Seiso step are:
- Bend down or over-stretch to reach a tool or piece of material
- Twist the torso after picking up a heavy item
- Work with joints in awkward positions (Office workers develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from constantly typing on computer keyboards with their wrists extended rather than in a neutral position – and they are not holding up any weight while working!)
ProcessAlthough the next article will explain the process in greater detail, the basics are:
- To set the new standard for cleanliness
- To learn how to maintain that level of cleanliness
NotesA regular cleaning process can be used as a visual inspection of equipment or the shop facility. Just as you might notice rust or a scratch when washing your car – and not notice it if you just get in and drive – so the workers will have opportunities to catch problems in their early stages. As an example: we had to clean a small puddle of hydraulic fluid – what does this mean about the state of the equipment?Even this one-time activity ties in with the previous steps of Seiri and Seiton. While performing the one-time “shiny clean” activity, the work teams should ask themselves questions and note the answers:
- Assign small teams to work on different sections of the factory
- Clean and inspect everything: machinery, work stations, storage cabinets, open floor spaces…
- Take notes of what had to be cleaned or tidied; how frequently it may be needed; resources required…
- Finish documenting the results by taking a photograph of the final result – this becomes the new standard
TheSeiso step should be applied beyond a factory setting and beyond physical cleanliness. Consider an office cubicle, for example. Is dust accumulating on a stack of papers? Why are the papers sitting there, rather than being filed properly? Are the computer’s air vents clogged? Are outdated documents stored on the computer rather than on a network backup?Again, theSeiso step is a one-time task. However, the final state should be documented so there is a record of how clean the environment should be. As well, Seiso leaves a set of instructions and guidelines for the next 5S step – Seikutsu, the regular standardized cleanup.
- Does grime cause problems in operating the equipment?
- Is grit causing the machinery to wear prematurely?
- Is the work station clean enough for safety and comfort?
- What does the “dirt” tell us about the equipment (like the leaking hydraulic fluid example)?
- Is the “dirt” – especially powder, gas or liquid – harmful or toxic?
- What tools, chemicals or methods are appropriate?
- Could careless cleaning actually damage the equipment?
- Could we perform routine maintenance – like checking the engine oil when washing your car – be performed while cleaning?
- Was “dirt” hiding any problems, such as rusting equipment or uneven floors?
How to Make Everything “Shiny Clean” (“Seiso”)The previous article introduced Seiso, the third step in the 5S methodology. Now we address this one-time step in more detail.
Clean, Inspect and DocumentSome principles apply to many cleaning tasks:
- Divide the factory or workplace into a number of areas
- Include equipment and machinery, work stations, storage areas (rooms, cabinets, or tool racks) and open floor areas
- Assign a team to each area
- Normally a two-person team works well, to share the cleaning, thinking and recording tasks
- Train the teams to know what they should do and what they need to report
- Each team cleans their area…more details are listed below
- Each team reports on their findings…more details are listed below
Each actual “cleaning” task has unique features due to the equipment or area being cleaned.
- Health and safety considerations:
- Does the worker need gloves, goggles, a mask or a respirator?
- Is equipment powered off? Unplugged? Secured by a lock-out tag?
- Will the task involve heavy lifting? Will enough people be involved to make it safe?
- Are the right tools and cleansing agents available?
- Think about the sources and destinations of the dirt:
- Sawdust may be an unavoidable result of cutting wood. Does it have to settle where it does? Would it make sense to adapt a fume hood to vent the sawdust, rather than needing to clean it up afterwards?
Make an inspection part of the cleaning process.
- To clean a surface (a desk or other work surface, or a wall, or a machine cover, or…):
- Just wipe off dirt? Will that scratch paint or enamel? Should we use a specific detergent? Would a vacuum cleaner do a better job?
- To clean a machine:
- How far should it be dis-assembled? Are solvents needed? What tools are required?
- Should lubricants be added?
- Upon inspection: are parts wearing out? Did nuts require tightening?
- Does the “dirt” – for example, a puddle of hydraulic fluid – indicate problems?
- Afterwards: test that it was re-assembled and is now working to specifications.
- To clean a work area:
- Are tools stored properly?
- Are there surfaces or seams where dirt collects?
- Are liquids (or powders, or small objects) stored in spill-proof containers?
- Are documents filed properly, but accessible when needed?
- Is each tool clean and well-maintained?
Remember to clean up the cleaning tools!
- Visible signs of wear
- Metallic powder or shavings may indicate that parts are grinding
- Lubricating oil (as in a car engine): is it clean or cloudy with contaminants?
- Often it makes sense to check fluid levels when cleaning other components.
The team must document what they learned:
- Store the vacuum cleaner or broom, the solvents or detergents.
- What to do with a dust cloth? Oily rags? Gloves or respirators?
Contracting Out – Pro and ConYou may find 5S consulting firms – or just cleaning or engineering contractors – willing to undertake the Seisostep for your organization.On the positive side:
- Take photographs to show how clean the work area should be.
- Document what the team did:
- What was cleaned?
- What tools and methods were used?
- Is there a specific sequence that makes the most sense?
- Should better tools or detergents be acquired?
- How long should these tasks take?
- Are major maintenance projects required?
- Repairs to equipment, to the building, to furnishings, to tools?
- Replacement of tools or furnishings?
- Does something need a fresh coat of paint?
We strongly advise against contracting out the whole Seiso step, although using 5S consultants as guides and leaders may be beneficial. Compared to completely outsourcing Seiso, full participation has benefits:
- Using experienced people can make the process quicker
- You might experience less downtime – especially if the Seiso step is held during a plant-wide vacation period
- Your workers will learn more if they are fully involved:
- More details about how and where to clean
- Knowing where the cleaning tools and detergents are stored
- People learn better by doing than by reading documents
- Greater sense of ownership (“buy-in”) and support for being able to do the cleaning in the available time
- Full employee participation in a team event with visible results leads to improved morale
The Benefits of “Shiny Clean” (“Seiso”)What are the benefits of the one-time Seiso step in the 5S process? Briefly:
The benefits of actually having a clean shop – over the long term, not just after the Seiso event – include:
- Setting the standard for future cleanliness
- Learning how to do the cleaning
- Higher morale, especially if managers participate in the event
Standards for CleanlinessIf there are no standards, then no-one can possible live up to them. Worse, people will do as little as required to satisfy themselves, but the effort will be wasted because the next person will either undermine those efforts (because they can tolerate more dirt) or be dissatisfied (because they have higher personal standards).Here are more positive expressions of the benefits of Seiso in setting standards for cleanliness:
- A safer and more comfortable work environment
- Less downtime for repairs, since equipment will be inspected briefly but regularly; and because there will be less dirt clogging the machinery
- Higher morale: workers can take more pride in a tidy and clean workplace
Seiso is a Learning ExperienceMajor benefits of a Seiso step come with what is learned:
- Understanding how clean a machine or work station must be to:
- Achieve quality goals – for example, dirt might interfere with accuracy
- Reduce wear and tear, thereby achieving the uptime required for throughput
- Be safe and acceptable for the worker
- Be acceptable for visitors, and so eliminate repeated cleanup projects before clients tour the facility?
- Demonstrating that it is possible to achieve that degree of cleanliness.
- Anyone may be sceptical before seeing what actually was accomplished.
Seiso Boosts MoraleIn Seiso, the employees work in teams, with management participating actively and fully. There is a sense of shared effort toward a common goal, with immediately visible results.5S Seiketsu (“Standardized Cleanup”)Introduction to the Fourth 5S StepSeiketsu – “Standardized Cleanup”Seiketsu is the fourth step of the 5S method. It means “standardized cleanup”. It derives from the one-time Seiso step which made the factory “shiny clean” and set the standard for cleanliness. Seiketsu makes it possible and feasible to live up to that standard.This article introduces Seiketsu; the next article will provide more detail on how to do it.MotivationSeiketsu enables and ensures compliance to the new standards of cleanliness. The benefits include:
- Actually performing the work validates what was planned – or extends the planning with reality.
- Lists of:
- Tools, equipment, detergents or cleansers required for each task;
- Sequences of tasks – wash the machinery before mopping the floor
- Actual times required by the various tasks
- Repairs required, as noted during the inspections
- Ideas for improvement – when you do the cleaning yourself you will get ideas on how to make the work easier in the future
- Employee buy-in: they did the work and therefore they know it can be done and how long it took to do it the first time
What Have We Learned?One output from the Seiso step was a list describing the cleanup process:
- Maintaining the higher morale gained during Seiso
- Pride in the workplace
- Relapsing into dirty or messy conditions means that theSeiso effort was wasted
- Minimal investment in time: the goal is 5 minutes per worker per shift
- No big clean-up before a visit from customers or executives
- Less downtime for equipment
We also found repair and maintenance issues, and began to ask “Where does the dirt come from”?How Can We Maintain Cleanliness?As an overview, four main questions will provide the answer:
- Tools required for each task
- Sequence of tasks
- Time required for each task
Standardization Beyond CleanlinessMany 5S consultants suggest that Seiketsu should include standardizing more than just the cleanup tasks. They suggest that both Seiri (“sort”) and Seiton (“set in order”) need the same discipline.That is true, but it is also a question of “what is included in Seiketsu”? Deciding which rack should hold a particular tool part of Seiton. If that tool is improperly left on a workbench, is that a violation of “setting in order” or of “cleanliness, including tidiness”? If the tool is stored in the correct rack, but caked with grease and dust – which principle is being violated?
- What sources of dirt can be eliminated?
- What cleaning should be performed daily?
- What cleaning should be performed weekly?
- What cleaning should be performed less frequently, and how do we ensure it happens?
How to Standardize Cleanup (“Seiketsu”)The previous article introduced Seiketsu. This article will discuss “how to” standardize cleanup processes to maintain the Seiso standard of cleanliness.Ready – In the Starting BlocksFrom the Seiso step, we have the following information about the cleanup process, or we have begun to list questions that require investigation:
Prevention is the Best MedicineLet’s return to the example of sawdust (or metal filings) produced by a cutting operation. The pile of sawdust was identified as “dirt”, to be cleaned daily with a broom.Could this step be eliminated? Could the sawdust be captured during the cutting operation? Would a vacuum “fume hood” be powerful enough to draw the sawdust directly to a barrel? What about attaching a bag, like one used on lawn mowers to catch grass clippings?It goes without saying that repairing faulty equipment – such as leaking seals or hoses – is also a way to prevent a mess from starting.Daily Cleaning TasksEach worker should have a set of daily cleanup tasks. These tasks may include:
- Tasks required in each work area
- Clean surfaces
- Disassemble, clean, and visually inspect machinery
- How to clean and where to store the cleaning tools (and consumables, such as detergents)
- Tools required for each task
- Sequence of tasks
- Time required for each task
- How often should this task be performed?
- Daily, weekly or less frequently?
- Where does the dirt come from?
- Can the source be eliminated or re-directed?
This set of actions should not add more than about five minutes to each worker’s set of routine daily tasks. One key is that this becomes the routine.For management to enforce the standards, the standards need to be documented. Since managers actively helped in the one-step Seiso process, the photographs of the tidy workplace should be sufficient.Weekly Cleaning TasksIt takes a bit more planning and organizing to ensure that weekly tasks are fully completed. Develop a binder for each work area, with clear instructions explaining these duties. Use a checklist to log who did each cleanup task. Follow up with a visual inspection of the task area, and by checking that the checklist has been signed.Less Frequent Cleaning TasksBeyond the weekly horizon, the less frequent tasks require more attention and planning.Like the weekly task system, this group needs a list of tasks and instructions, plus a checklist or logbook. In addition, it needs a scheduling system to ensure the tasks are accomplished on time.The scheduling system may be set up on a computer. It could be as simple as a calendar in each work area, to remind workers when the cleaning tasks should be performed.This also requires delegating a person to ensure the schedule is planned and followed.Seiketsu standardizes cleanup: several successful repetitions are needed to make a change into a standardized habit. Daily and weekly tasks quickly become routine. Because of the time which elapses between the infrequent cleanup tasks, it will take longer to make them habitual and repeatable. Therefore it is vital to develop a system that works for your organization. Management should make these infrequent cleaning tasks into deliverables and inspect the results until satisfied that the change is habitual. You don’t want to open a cabinet or move a machine and find a built-up mess that should have been addressed regularly.
- Wipe or clean tools before storing them in their appropriate racks
- Clean and inspect the machinery used during that shift
- Clean one’s own workbench
- Dust or wipe down work surfaces
- Store workbench items properly – put the lids back on jars, for example
- Sweep a designated area of the floor
- Turn off or unplug power tools as required
- Visually check that everything is in place
5S - The Benefits of “Standardized Cleanup” (“Seiketsu”)What are the benefits of Seiketsu in the 5S process?
Taking Standardization Beyond CleanlinessThere are good reasons for companies to spend significant time and money on “image”: to design a logo, a colour scheme, and the font(s) which are used in advertising and on letterhead. One reason is “brand recognition” – the customer should instantly recognize the brand.Consider developing standardized labels for tools and tool storage:
- Brief (about five minutes!) daily cleanup should:
- Maintain cleanliness, and therefore avoid periodic large-scale cleanup projects
- Support the Seiri (sort) and Seiton (set in order) initiatives: regular cleaning ensures that only useful objects are kept, and tools are stored in their proper places
- Maintains the morale boost from the one-time Seiso (shiny-clean) step: the effort was not wasted; management really is committed; and everyone continues to work toward this common goal
- Provides a daily visual inspection of equipment and facilities, so preventative maintenance can be performed at the earliest possible time
- Makes it easier to note that tools and materials are stored properly at the end of each shift
- Reinforces the culture of tidiness, so workers are less likely to leave a mess that they will just have to clean up later
- The less frequent cleanups – weekly or even less often – also have benefits:
- Reinforces the good first impression of cleanliness and tidiness, because the less-used or less-visited areas are also well-maintained; there is no contrast between a showcase work station and a messy storage closet
- Inspections reinforce the knowledge that management is committed to keeping the factory clean, tidy and organized
- These also provide visual inspection of machinery
- The cleaner environment:
- Reduces environmental health hazards – dust or pools of toxic liquids – for workers
- Reduces the chances of slips and falls, by cleaning spilled liquids
- Reduces wear on machinery, by cleaning the equipment and by reducing airborne grit that can get into moving parts
- Standardization itself:
- Reduces training time: similar situations are documented in similar ways; basic tasks are performed in each work group; and experience co-workers can explain things to newcomers
- Reduces or eliminates confusion – each worker knows the tasks and responsibilities
- Improves morale by reducing the friction between workers with different personal tolerances for neatness, or different ways of storing tools
- Contributes to consistent quality and productivity
The idea is that any worker should be able to recognize a “tool label”, even on unfamiliar tools. The label might help indicate where it should be stored (in which department’s tool rack), or for what purpose (metric or imperial products).Use consistent signage – all “exit” signs look the same, but are different from “entry” signs or “washroom” signs – to make the message easy to understand quickly. Some of this has been built into society: the red circle with a slash to indicate “do not go here or do this”; skull and crossbones labels for poisons. Find ways to extend the use of standard colours and images to convey important information quickly and consistently. The main benefit here is increased workplace safety.5S - Shitsuke (“Sustain”)Introduction to the Final 5S StepShitsuke is the fifth and final step of the 5S method. It means “sustain” or “sustained discipline”. It is a Japanese word that carries a wealth of cultural meaning:
- Use the same font and colour…
- For all tools, everywhere?
- For all the tools in one department?
- For all the metric wrenches, but use a different colour for the imperial wrenches?
- Always label the tool itself on a side that is displayed when stored on its rack
- Use the same label on the tool rack (where the tool should be stored) as the label on the tool
The responsibility for Shitsuke is shared between management and the workforce.Managers should remind the employees of the 5S principles, and reinforce them through consistent messages and behaviors. For example:
- Discipline and training imposed upon a person:
- Children are taught by their parents to brush their teeth after every meal
- Children grow into adults who brush their teeth after every meal
- Shared cultural self-discipline:
- Everyone is expected to brush their teeth after every meal
- Personal discipline to continually practice and improve:
- Golfers practice putts and drives – they do not simply play a round on the weekend without practicing in between
Employees may remind each other when a task is missed. It should be obvious if a tool is left on a workbench rather than stored on a rack, or if someone does not tidy their workstation.In addition to giving tours to customers, consider arranging for regular family days. This will reinforce the employees’ pride in having a clean and efficient workplace.On the other hand, what appears to be laziness or indifference to the standards might be a time-saving innovation. If a tool is only used at one workstation, why store it on the department’s rack? The Seiton step may not have recognized this exception
- Introduce and support audit and certification programs, to formally ensure that the new standards are supported and implemented
- Develop Seiketsu (standardized cleanup) procedures and review the standards from time to time
- Conduct inspections to ensure the standards are met
- Devote time and resources to the less-frequent cleanups
- Provide training, storage space, cleaning supplies, replacement parts and other resources as required to enable the standards to be met
- Train new employees in the 5S methods, as well as explaining the principles
- Communicate the 5S principles to the workers on a regular basis – perhaps by installing and updating posters that emphasize one or another aspect of the 5S program
- Lean 5S - How to Sustain Discipline (“Shitsuke”)The previous article introduced Shitsuke. This article will discuss “how to” sustain the 5S efforts made so far.The responsibility for Shitsuke is shared between management and the workforce. However, management must take responsibility for continuing to communicate the 5S message, and for regular inspections to enforce the standards.Employees should be held accountable for doing the work and creating the results.Sustaining the 5S Disciplines
Notes on Sustaining 5SA checklist is a powerful tool. It is a task list, it provides evidence that the tasks have been completed, but it also is physical evidence that management is serious about the tasks. This helps the company “walk the talk” that 5S is important.Ongoing communication is also important. Communication is only effective if the message is clear and well understood. The best communication will also be easily and quickly understood. For safety, standardize signs that point out hazards. (The “red circle with a diagonal slash” is commonly used for “don’t do this”; alternating yellow and black lines use a wasp’s color scheme to indicate a hazard). Use consistent signs where the messages are similar.TheShitsuke step ties together the previous ongoing steps of (Seiri), (Seiton) and (Seiketsu). Sustain the ongoing discipline to:
- Set standards and processes (including task lists and schedules) based on the prior 5S stages (Seiso and Seiketsu), if this was not already accomplished
- Introduce an audit process
- Introduce a certification program
- Inspect and enforce while the workforce is becoming accustomed to the new procedures, paying extra attention to the less-frequent cleanup tasks
- Train new employees to follow the procedures; and also provide the reasons for 5S
- Provide resources – tool racks, cleaning supplies, repairs, signage, storage areas, and the time required for weekly and infrequent cleaning
- Continue communicating the 5S message in person and using appropriate media such as posters or newsletters, as well as posting the photographs from the one-time Seiso clean-up
- Encourage continuous improvement by accepting suggestions on topics such as: better places to store tools; more efficient sequences of tasks; how to avoid creating dirt in the first place
- Hold regular “family visit” days, to reinforce the employees’ pride in making their workplace efficient, safe and tidy
- The 5S process should be a boost for morale and mutual respect: common tools are cleaned and stored properly; work benches and machines are tidy at the end of a shift; and everyone shares the responsibility and the achievement
- Make suggestions to improve the processes
- Help each other by visually inspecting each others’ work areas
The next article discusses the benefits of theShitsuke step; these benefits may provoke more ideas on how to go about it.
- Sort: vigilantly remove outdated items (Seiri):
- Consider putting a “remove by” date on every announcement pinned to a bulletin board
- Set in order: ensure that tools and materials are stored properly (Seiton):
- When you invest in a new tool, take the time to make its place in the tool rack
- Standardized Cleanup: continue living up to the Seiso standard, and try to improve (Seiketsu):
- Where did this dirt come from?
- Could we eliminate the source?
The Benefits of “Sustained Discipline” (“Shitsuke”)What are the benefits of Shitsuke in the 5S process?Briefly: all the benefits from the first four steps would be lost without a deliberate effort to sustain the discipline of the 5S method. In addition, the discipline in Shitsuke helps individuals and organizations when they tackle further initiatives.In general, it takes time and repetition to form any new routine. People are likely to slip back into their previous habits. Regarding the 5S process, this means falling back into being messy or disorganized.Routine deadlines and productivity quotas can also hinder the 5S processes, especially if management does not reward compliance. A worker who needs to stay just a bit late to complete a production assignment may not voluntarily store tools and clean up. Should that person be compensated for the extra time? Is every employee required to follow the Seiketsu (standardized cleanup) as part of regular work?A more detailed list of the benefits of Shitsuke includes:
Without Shitsuke – sustained discipline – at the “end” of the 5S process, any benefits from the first four steps will gradually evaporate.
- Maintaining employee morale by:
- The sense of joint effort and pride of accomplishment would be lost if standards slip
- Morale would sink if employees begin to believe that management does not follow through on projects
- Sinking back into a messy workplace would undo the pride that comes with having a clean and well-organized environment
- Continuing to pay attention to employee suggestions
- Long-term productivity improvements due to:
- Reduced wear and tear on machinery, due to greater cleanliness and regular visual inspections
- Consistently storing tools in the proper places: the most frequently-used are nearest to hand; no need to play “hunt the hammer” since it is stored correctly
- Clear communication, especially on signs that show where tools are stored; what hazards to avoid; or what routes to take to avoid moving equipment
- Clear communication on bulletin boards and in libraries, since out-of-date materials are discarded or filed away
- Quicker to find needed tools or materials, since there is no useless clutter in the storage area
- Quicker to move materials around the shop, since there is no useless clutter on the shop floor
- The proper tools are more efficient than patched or improvised ones
- Higher quality with greater consistency because of clear work instructions
- Improved health and safety:
- Lower concentrations of airborne contaminants (dust)
- Tripping and electrical hazards were reduced or eliminated in the Seiri step
- Well-maintained equipment: guards in place; leaking seals or gaskets are noticed and replaced; visual inspections spot the beginnings of cracks or rust, and these problems are addressed promptly
- Fewer injuries due to repeated awkward motions, because Seiri reduced bending and twisting to retrieve low items
- Fewer injuries due to uncomfortable work positions, because Seiri adjusted seating and workbench heights